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Commissioner's office of Chinese foreign ministry urges Foreign Correspondents' Club to stop vilifying rule of law in Hong Kong

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-11-05 21:33

HONG KONG -- The Commissioner's Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Friday strongly disapproved of and firmly objected to a survey conducted by the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) on freedom of the press in Hong Kong.

The FCC survey released on Friday attacked the national security law in Hong Kong as well as freedom of the press in Hong Kong, said a spokesperson of the office.

"We urge the FCC to stop sowing discord and refrain from interfering with the law-based governance of the HKSAR government and Hong Kong's rule of law in the name of press freedom," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson pointed out that the lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, including freedoms of speech and the press, are upheld in the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the national security law in Hong Kong.

Contrary to the survey results, the national security law in Hong Kong has better protected the safety of the country, restored social stability and provided people with a stronger sense of security, the spokesperson noted.

"Targeting a very small handful of criminals for their activities that endanger national security, the national security law does not harm press freedom and any other rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people; rather, it protects their rights and freedoms in a more secure, stable and law-based environment," the spokesperson said.

Under the national security law in Hong Kong, the number of local, overseas and online news media and practitioners registered in the HKSAR government news and media information system has gone up, and the right of media professionals in Hong Kong to report in accordance with law has not been affected at all, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson stressed that the FCC has walked away from its professional ethics. "Its misleading report, based on just a few responses, is neither representative nor credible. Its smearing of Hong Kong's press freedom and playing-up of the chilling effect are interference in Hong Kong affairs," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson noted that there is no absolute press freedom anywhere in the world that could be above the law. "Foreign media correspondents in the city must strictly abide by the laws of China and the HKSAR and accept legal supervision," the spokesperson said.

There is only one purpose for the relevant departments of the HKSAR government to improve management and service for the media sector in accordance with law -- to protect the rights of all law-abiding media outlets and journalists and safeguard press freedom in Hong Kong.

"The actions are, by all standards, legitimate and necessary," the spokesperson noted.

"We urge the FCC to distinguish right from wrong, respect the rule of law in the HKSAR, and stop driving wedge in Hong Kong and meddling in Hong Kong affairs under whatever pretext," the spokesperson said.

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