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HK residents oppose US sanctions threat

By ATLAS SHAO in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-07 13:51


Smearing of judicial system only serves to strengthen national security desire

As of 10 pm on Monday, over 360,000 Hong Kong netizens had signed an online petition to oppose US politicians' threats to sanction Hong Kong officials, judges and prosecutors involved in safeguarding national security.

Some lawmakers in the United States proposed last week a bill requiring the US government to review the listing of 49 Hong Kong judges, prosecutors and government officials on a sanction list for their roles in legal cases involving national security.

The online petition was launched on Sunday. A local group that organized the campaign underlined that judges embody the principles of fairness and justice, and any attempts to sanction them are unjust and unacceptable.

In addition, lawmakers from various political parties on Monday staged protests outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong to condemn the move.

They noted that US accusations about the National Security Law for Hong Kong are groundless and urged the US to stop political interference and manipulation.

Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Sukyee, who is also chairman of the New People's Party, pointed out that the NSL has brought peace and stability to Hong Kong. She noted that US lawmakers' accusations about the law are baseless, calling it a smear campaign against Hong Kong.

Several members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the city's largest political party, also protested at the scene. Holden Chow Ho-ding, vice-chairman of the party, said that US politicians have repeatedly smeared Hong Kong's legal system, and their purpose is clear.

Chow, who was also invited to attend Hong Kong Legal Week 2023, said that it's the consensus of experts attending the event that Hong Kong has an excellent legal system, which further proves that the smear campaign of the US is ignorant and futile.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Sunday that the SAR's officials and judicial personnel exercise the power of enforcement, prosecution and jurisdiction over serious crimes endangering national security and perform their duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the Basic Law, the National Security Law for Hong Kong and other local laws.

"Therefore, the threat of sanctions completely deviates from the spirit of the rule of law and disregards international justice," the spokesperson said.

The US politicians' attempts to disrupt and obstruct the judicial system in Hong Kong through pressure and intimidation will only make the Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, more united and determined to perform their duties of safeguarding national security, said a spokesperson for the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR.

In a separate statement, the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR said that the bullying sanctions called for by some US politicians are nothing more than "a piece of wastepaper", and they will never be able to shake the Hong Kong SAR's determination to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities and safeguard national security.

Hong Kong Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung said on a radio program on Sunday that some US politicians want to discredit Hong Kong's judiciary independence for personal gain.

He said the threat of sanctions is "gangster-like" behavior that deserves condemnation from every resident in the city.

Representatives from various sectors of Hong Kong expressed their dissatisfaction with and condemnation of the US politicians on Sunday afternoon. They urged the US to stop interfering in the SAR's matters, which are purely the nation's internal affairs. Some residents also held protests outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong.

Xi Tianqi and Wu Kunling contributed to this story.

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