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China urges US to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-03-01 21:18

BEIJING - China urges the United States to respect China's sovereignty and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

In a press statement, the spokesperson of US Department of State said that the United States is closely monitoring the implications of Hong Kong's national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law for US citizens, investments, and companies operating in Hong Kong and is concerned by the definitions of "state secrets" and "external interference" and the extraterritorial reach of Article 23, alleging that Article 23 would undermine the "one country, two systems" framework.

In response, spokesperson Mao Ning told a daily news briefing that China strongly deplores and firmly opposes the US statement.

Mao noted that completing the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law and plugging loopholes to safeguard national security is the constitutional responsibility of the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and what must be done for the lasting stability and security in HKSAR and the sound implementation of One Country, Two Systems in the long run.

The just concluded public consultation has shown that the Hong Kong society has reached strong consensus to complete the legislation, Mao added.

The legislation on Article 23 targets a handful of criminals gravely endangering the national security and protects in accordance with law the rights and freedoms which the residents of Hong Kong enjoy under the Basic Law and the provisions of relevant international covenants as applied to Hong Kong, according to the spokesperson.

"Foreign citizens, investments, and companies operating in Hong Kong will also be protected in accordance with law," Mao said.

The extraterritorial effect of Article 23 is in strict compliance with international law and the common practices of all countries and regions, Mao said, adding that "state secrets" and "external interference" are defined with full consideration given to HKSAR's realities and the common practices of all countries. "The legislation is legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach."

The past three years since the Law of the PRC on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR was formulated and came into force are a period when Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive again, and when the international community cast a vote of confidence in Hong Kong's prospects, Mao said, adding that after the Article 23 legislation is completed, Hong Kong's high-quality development and high-standard opening up will be better guaranteed and Hong Kong residents and international investors will benefit from it.

"The United States has issued troves of laws safeguarding its own national security but thrown dirt on and labeled the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law. This is out-and-out political manipulation and hypocritical double standards," Mao said.

Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs, which no country is in any position to point fingers at or interfere in, she stressed.

"We urge the United States to respect China's sovereignty, observe the principles guiding international law and the basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs which are China's internal affairs," Mao said.

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