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Iran Press TV

Hong Kong blasts UK's criticism of China, new security bill as 'biased'

Iran Press TV

Friday, 12 June 2020 10:16 AM

The government of Hong Kong has struck back at a British report slamming China over the passing of a national security bill by the city's legislative council last month, dismissing the report as "inaccurate and biased."

The move by China's global financial hub city on Tuesday came after the UK government claimed again that the security law was a clear violation of Beijing's international obligations and a breach of the "one country, two systems" governance prescribed for the former British colony since its handover to Chinese rule in 1997.

Moreover, the Hong Kong government underlined that it firmly opposes the report's "inaccurate and biased remarks on the national security law and the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by (city residents)."

"Any allegation that the law will undermine Hong Kong people's freedoms and 'one country, two systems' is no more than alarmist speculation and simply fallacious," the Hong Kong government further emphasized in a statement, reiterating that the legislation was within the purview of Beijing.

In the foreword to his government's biannual report on Hong Kong, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote: "There is still time for China to reconsider, to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong's autonomy and respect its own international obligations."

The UK's top diplomat further stated that a solution to the unrest and violent rallies in the past year in the autonomous Chinese city "must come from Hong Kong, and cannot be imposed from mainland China."

However, officials in Beijing as well as Hong Kong have persistently insisted that the new bill – due to become law by September – does not pose a threat to the city's autonomy or the interests of foreign investors, noting that it is merely meant to prevent terrorism and foreign interference in the key financial hub, as was evident in violent, Western-backed protest rallies there against the mainland.

The harsh criticism against China by the UK and other Western governments – namely the US, Canada, Australia and the EU -- came after Hong Kong's legislature debated and passed the Beijing-proposed bill on May 25, criminalizing sedition, secession and subversion against the mainland.

The bill also requires that China's national anthem – known as "March of the Volunteers" – be taught in schools and sung by organizations, and imposes jail terms or fines against those who disrespect it.

This is while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week singled out the London-based HSBC investment banking firm as one of the major companies backing the Hong Kong law, saying such "corporate kowtows" got little in return from Beijing while blasting the Chinese Communist Party's "coercive bullying tactics."

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin went even further on Thursday, saying he was working on various capital market responses to the security law, including some measures that could restrict capital flow through the territory.

Hong Kong's leader slams 'double standards' on national security

Earlier this month, Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam accused Western governments of exercising "double standards" in their response to a national security law recently passed by the city's parliament, citing the ongoing suppression of massive protests across the US against police brutality.

"They are very concerned about their own national security, but on our national security… they look through tinted glasses," Lam said during her weekly press conference on June 2 as she made her first public comments following Washington's announcement that it would remove Hong Kong's preferential treatment from US law.

"In the US, we see how the riots were being handled by the local governments, compared to the stance they adopted when almost the same riots happened in Hong Kong last year," Lam added, referring to recent riots in the US protesting the police killing of yet another unarmed African-American man in Minneapolis that sparked nationwide rallies against persisting police cruelty.

She further warned countries threatening action against Hong Kong that they might end up damaging their own interests.

Trump threatens severe action against HK, Beijing

Her remarks came just days after US President Donald Trump blasted China over the passage of the national security law in Hong Kong, claiming that Beijing had broken its word regarding the city's autonomy and asserting that the territory no longer warranted US economic privileges.

"We will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China," Trump said, further threatening to impose sanctions on individuals seen as responsible for "smothering - absolutely smothering - Hong Kong's freedom."

"China has replaced One Country, Two Systems with One Country, One System", he further claimed in a prepared statement that attacked Beijing on several fronts. "This is a tragedy for Hong Kong... China has smothered Hong Kong's freedom."

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