Xinhua lashes out at West over attacks on Hong Kong after US report calls for more sanctions

Chinese state news agency Xinhua has lashed out at Western countries for what its says are continued attempts to smear Hong Kong’s national security laws and threats to sanction the city’s officials, accusing it of “having ulterior motives to distort the truth”.

Countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as some Western institutions and politicians, have confused right and wrong, and played with “double standards” to deceive the world, according to a commentary published by the agency on Saturday night.

“We must caution such countries, institutions and politicians that if they persist in undermining and disrupting Hong Kong’s development through so-called sanctions and suppression, they will undoubtedly face strong retaliation from the Chinese government and the entire Chinese people,” the piece said.

The commentary came after the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China issued its 2023 Annual Report, which called on Washington to employ sanctions “more robustly” and specifically target prosecutors, judges and other individuals whom it said were complicit in the dismantling of Hong Kong’s autonomy and rights protections.

Western countries have stepped up attacks on Hong Kong after it passed its domestic national security law in March, which complemented similar legislation imposed by Beijing in 2020.

The Xinhua piece accused countries such as the US and Britain of having double standards, saying they criticised the city’s national security laws while enacting their own ones carrying even heavier punishments for certain acts.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu poses, legislators and government officials mark the passage of the city’s domestic national security law in March. Photo: Sam Tsang

The commentary said Hong Kong only imposed a maximum 20-year sentence on espionage offenders, while in the UK and Australia, the crime could carry life imprisonment and death in the US.

The news agency also criticised the countries for attempting to undermine confidence in the city and the “one country, two systems” governing principle by “falsely” issuing travel alerts for Hong Kong, as well as publishing comments such as “Hong Kong is over”.

It cited a recent report by the American Chamber of Commerce in the city which stated that nearly 60 per cent of the interviewed enterprises were optimistic about Hong Kong’s business environment.

“Dark clouds can never completely conceal the radiance of the sun. Any attempts to attack or tarnish are ultimately futile and in vain,” it said.

Separately on Saturday, the Hong Kong government and the country’s foreign affairs arm in the city issued separate statements to condemn and oppose the US Congressional-Executive Commission report for its “biased, slandering and smearing” remarks against the city and its national security laws.

“The so-called ‘sanctions’ as mentioned in the US’ so-called report is a smack of despicable political manipulation to intimidate [Hong Kong] officials safeguarding national security,” a government spokesman said.

The commissioner’s office of China’s foreign ministry in Hong Kong said the report was filled with ignorance, falsehoods and biases, adding the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law were fully protected.



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