London [UK], June 11 (ANI): China has expressed strong opposition to Britain's "Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong and called it "blatant interference" in its internal affairs.
The comes after the UK report on the former British colony stated that Beijing has broken its legal obligations by undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and used a national security law to "drastically curtail freedoms" in the global financial hub.
Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the UK said, "The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of 'supervision' over Hong Kong. The Chinese Government governs Hong Kong in accordance with the Constitution of China and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration. No foreign country has the right to take the Joint Declaration as an excuse to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs."
In the six-monthly report covering July-December 2020, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said a sweeping national security law Beijing imposed on the city in June last year was being used to stifle political opposition.
The report said 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."
It further said the law is being used to stifle political opposition, as seen in the arrests of 55 pro-democracy politicians and activists for their alleged roles in the Legislative Council primaries.
Moreover, the report also highlighted how the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) acted unilaterally in its decision on electoral changes, without prior consent from Hong Kong's Legislative Council.
"The NPC's decision provides the means for greater control of candidates standing for elected offices and removal of elected politicians. It reverses China's promise to Hong Kong in the Basic Law of gradual progress towards a system of universal suffrage, and further hollows out the Legislative Council."
Back in March, the UK had said it considers China to be in a "state of ongoing non-compliance" with the Sino-British joint declaration after Beijing approved sweeping changes for tighter control over Hong Kong.
The British Foreign Secretary in March had condemned the Chinese decision to impose "radical changes to restrict participation in Hong Kong's electoral system".
The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and China in 1985 on Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty. The two governments agreed China would reassume control of Hong Kong, which was occupied by Britain after the Opium War in 1840, from July 1, 1997. It states that China's basic policies regarding Hong Kong "will remain unchanged for 50 years" and includes the promise that the city would retain a high degree of autonomy. (ANI)