Hong Kong, Beijing tell Britain to ‘abandon colonial nostalgia’ after
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Local and mainland Chinese officials have called on Britain to “abandon colonial nostalgia” and stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs after London accused Beijing of using the national security law to crush dissent and suppress alternative political viewpoints in the city.
In the British government’s latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong, submitted to parliament on Friday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also accused China of breaking its legal obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration by undermining Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy.
“The National Security Law is not being used for its original purpose, as stated by Beijing, to target just ‘a tiny number of criminals who seriously endanger national security’. Rather it has been used to drastically curtail the space for the expression of alternative political views and deter freedom of expression and legitimate political debate,” Raab wrote in the foreword of the report, which covers events in Hong Kong from July to December last year.
Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.Raab also referred to some developments that took place in Hong Kong this year, pointing to the mass arrest of 55 opposition figures in January as evidence that the Beijing-imposed security legislation was “being used to stifle political opposition”, and warning that “confidence in the rule of law will be undermined if there are further politicised prosecution decisions”.
But in a press conference on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the report had “distorted the truth”.
“Since the introduction of the national security law about a year ago, Hong Kong has restored order and stability, and returned to the right track. International capital has also continued to flow into Hong Kong, and foreign companies have become more confident in Hong Kong’s business environment,” he said.
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