CE rejects US claims

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's statement on the National Security Law contained sweeping and totally unsubstantiated remarks which represented blatant interventions into China's internal affairs.   Mrs Lam issued a statement, further to the Government's response this morning on the business advisory released by the US Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Treasury to US businesses and individuals operating in Hong Kong.   She said the Mr Blinken's statement represented utter trampling on the rule of law and once again, double standards of the US administration, adding that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government cannot allow such misguided remarks to go unchallenged.   The Chief Executive pointed out that the National Security Law clearly stipulates that human rights and individual freedoms shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR.   However, under the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as well as the constitutions of most countries around the world, it is clearly stated that certain basic rights and freedoms of individuals can be restricted through legislation for the purpose of safeguarding national security.   The Hong Kong SAR Government has seen numerous decisions and actions under the US jurisdiction affecting other countries, businesses and individuals justified on grounds of safeguarding the national security of the US. It wondered how such obvious double standards could go unnoticed.   Moreover, the international community has spoken up against the US' interference into China's internal affairs.   At the recently concluded session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, over 90 countries expressed support for China in its efforts in restoring stability in the Hong Kong SAR. These countries clearly stood by the principle of non-intervention under international law as well as the principle of sovereign equality.   Mrs Lam also noted that the great majority of Hong Kong people are patriotic and fully embrace the principle of "one country, two systems". They aspire for peace, stability and personal safety but prior to the enactment of the National Security Law, all these had been put at risk by rioters associated with or incited by external forces to subvert state power, very often under the guise of promoting democracy.   The Hong Kong authorities are taking actions, including the arrests of suspects, in strict accordance with the law, she said.   Mrs Lam emphasised that prosecution decisions are taken by the Department of Justice without any interference and trials are conducted by an independent judiciary. This is the robust legal system that Hong Kong is extremely proud of, and one enshrined in the Basic Law and also embedded in the National Security Law. No other government could or should fetter with these legal proceedings.   She reiterated that it is simply wrong for Mr Blinken to allege that Hong Kong's business environment has deteriorated in the past year.   Hong Kong remains an open and free economy, underpinned by the rule of law and a robust regulatory regime. As fully demonstrated by the relevant statistics, Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre has not changed and business confidence has not been shaken.   Mrs Lam urged the US authorities to view Hong Kong matters in an honest and fair manner, and consider ways to further reward experiences of US businesses and individuals in Hong Kong, instead of intimidating them with the business advisory.
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