Beijing hits out at US after report on human rights situation in Hong Kong

Beijing has accused the US of using its latest human rights report to smear the situation in Hong Kong, saying Washington should stop “lying” and meddling in local and national affairs.

The commissioner’s office of China’s Foreign Ministry arm in the city was responding on Tuesday to the report released by the US State Department on Monday, which accused Beijing of continuing to “dismantle” Hong Kong’s political freedoms and autonomy in violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

The report highlighted authorities’ enforcement of the 2020 national security law, including its retroactive application and the denial of bail to activists in national security cases.

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The city’s government also hit back on Tuesday, saying the report’s claims were unfounded and biased. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The State Department report, which assesses about 200 countries and territories based on standards enshrined in international human-rights agreements, contained an extensive catalogue of China’s alleged violations, as it has for several decades.

The commissioner’s office said it firmly opposed the report, criticising the United States for pointing fingers at other countries’ human rights situation while disregarding significant issues such as racial discrimination, widespread gun violence, police brutality and wealth disparity within its own borders.

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The office said the Chinese government attached great importance to safeguarding human rights and integrating their protection into legislation.

“We urge the United States to stop lying, respect facts … and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” the office said.

The city’s government also hit back on Tuesday, saying the report’s claims were unfounded and biased.

A Hong Kong government spokesman said it strongly opposed the US’ repeated tactics in making slanderous remarks against Hong Kong, where “one country, two systems” was successfully implemented.

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“The US is once again overriding the rule of law with politics and politicising human rights issues,” the spokesman said.

“Such [an] attempt to undermine the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and interfere in Hong Kong’s law-based governance is doomed to fail.”

Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, human rights in the city had been firmly protected by both the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Law, he said.

The Beijing-imposed and home-grown national security laws clearly stipulate that human rights shall be respected and protected, he noted.

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