The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today expressed regret over the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act by the US Congress’ House of Representatives.
The US House of Representatives also passed another act and a resolution on Hong Kong.
The HKSAR Government reiterated that foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the city’s internal affairs.
In a statement, the HKSAR Government said since the return to the Motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law.
It said the “one country, two systems” principle has been fully and successfully implemented, adding that it is the best arrangement for maintaining Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability and for making Hong Kong a favourable place to live and work in.
“The HKSAR Government will continue to implement the ‘one country, two systems’ principle resolutely in accordance with the Basic Law.”
The statement said safeguarding human rights and freedoms is a constitutional duty of the HKSAR Government.
It noted that Article 4 of the Basic Law stipulates that the HKSAR shall safeguard the rights and freedoms of its residents and other people in the region in accordance with law.
Human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are also fully protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation, in addition to the Basic Law, while the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force.
“The HKSAR Government attaches great importance to human rights and freedoms and is determined to safeguard them.”
Regarding the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019, the statement pointed out that the Chief Executive announced on September 4 that the HKSAR Government would formally withdraw the bill.
“In the past few months, there were a series of protests and public order events in Hong Kong. Some of them eventually became violent and illegal incidents, causing damage to district and community facilities as well as injury to members of the public.”
It said Police, in response, have been exercising restraint and have been carrying out enforcement actions in strict accordance with the law.
“On the use of force, police officers will give prior warning, where practicable, and use appropriate force in accordance with police guidelines on the use of force.
“The purpose of Police enforcement actions is to protect the life and property of the general public, bring offenders to justice and restore public order as soon as possible.”
The Independent Police Complaints Council is conducting a fact-finding study on the handling of large-scale public order events since June, including corresponding actions by Police. It has established a panel of international experts to assist in its work and will prepare a report which will be made public.
On strategic trade control, the statement noted Hong Kong is a separate customs territory under the Basic Law.
It added that the HKSAR Government has been implementing comprehensive control on import, export and re-export of strategic commodities in accordance with Hong Kong laws and international control lists, and carrying out rigorous enforcement, and it will continue to maintain close co-operation with the US and other trading partners.
On constitutional development, the statement stressed that universal suffrage of “one person, one vote” for selecting the Chief Executive and electing all members of the Legislative Council is enshrined as an ultimate aim in the Basic Law.
“To achieve this aim, the community needs to engage in dialogues, premised on the legal basis and under a peaceful atmosphere with mutual trust, with a view to narrowing differences and attaining a consensus agreeable to all sides.
“The HKSAR Government will assess the situation carefully and take forward constitutional development in accordance with the Basic Law and the relevant interpretation and decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.”