This photo dated April 21, 2021 shows the Central Government Offices at Tamar, Hong Kong. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on Wednesday expressed strong opposition to a misleading report by the United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
The commission’s comments in the so-called report on the HKSAR government’s efforts in safeguarding national security are totally biased, the government said in a statement issued on Wednesday night.
The commission’s comments on the HKSAR government’s efforts in safeguarding national security are totally biased, the government said in a statement issued on Wednesday night
“Acts and activities that endanger national security may have very serious consequences, and hence actions must be taken to prevent and suppress such acts and activities,” the statement reads.
The HKSAR government said any law enforcement actions are based on evidence, strictly according to the law, and have nothing to do with the suspects’ background.
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“It would be contrary to the rule of law to suggest that people of certain sectors or background could be above the law,” the government said.
It noted that Article 4 of the National Security Law provides that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the HKSAR, while Article 5 affirms adherence to the principle of the rule of law while enforcing the law against offenses endangering national security.
The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has pointed out that these two provisions are centrally important to the interpretation of the National Security Law generally.
“The attacks to the rule of law by the report is totally unsubstantiated,” the government said.
On the report's ungrounded allegations on the disbandment of organizations,the HKSAR government stressed that the National Security Law does not seek to prevent, suppress and punish normal interactions with other countries, regions or international organizations.
The government also reaffirmed that freedom of association in the HKSAR is guaranteed under the Basic Law.
“That said, whilst freedom of association should be respected and protected, similar to other rights and freedoms, it is not absolute. It may be subject to restrictions that are provided by law and are necessary for pursuing legitimate aims such as the protection of national security or public order,” the government said.
While some organizations might decide to disband on their own accord, the government said the authorities may also disband certain groups in strict accordance with the law to minimize the risks of endangering national security “that an organization may bring about.”
“It should also be pointed out that it is the common responsibility of all the people of Hong Kong to safeguard national security, and any institution, organisation or individual in the HKSAR shall abide by the National Security Law and the laws of HKSAR in relation to safeguarding national security,” the government said.
“Efforts of the HKSAR government to strengthen publicity and education, so as to enhance the understanding of national security and law-abiding awareness of various sectors of the community, is fully justified and necessary,” it added.
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