Source: Hong Kong Information Services
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government firmly opposed and strongly condemned the joint statement by the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
The SAR Government said the five foreign ministers’ joint statement made deliberate misrepresentation regarding the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s decision on the qualification of Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council members.
It pointed out that the comments, irresponsible to the point of malice, are vivid proof of blatant interference in Hong Kong matters which are squarely internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
Hong Kong is an inalienable part of the PRC. The Basic Law stipulates that the Hong Kong SAR shall be a local administrative region of the PRC, which shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy and come directly under the Central People’s Government. The Basic Law also requires designated public officers including LegCo members, when assuming office, to swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR in accordance with the law.
Such requirements are also the legal prerequisite and conditions for an individual to run for election as prescribed in Hong Kong’s relevant local legislation. Previous court rulings have confirmed that these legal prerequisites are substantive.
Swearing allegiance to the system of the country and upholding laws of the state is an international norm for public officers and any breach of the oath will not be tolerated. For instance, US Congress members must swear that they will support and defend the US Constitution or face criminal charges. Members of the UK Parliament who refuse to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown cannot assume office.
The Government said no country will turn a blind eye to the breaching of oaths or acts of treason by public officers including legislators.
It added that by publicly criticising the resolute action of the Central People’s Government and the Hong Kong SAR Government to disqualify four LegCo members who have been confirmed in accordance with the law to have breached their oath, the five foreign ministers are clearly applying double standards.
The Government pointed out that the Standing Committee’s decision made on November 11 is constitutional, lawful and necessary. It is a timely act to ensure the faithful implementation of “one country, two systems” and safeguard Hong Kong SAR’s constitutional order.
It said there is no question of “destroying ‘one country, two systems’ or a high degree of autonomy” as claimed by a few. The decision does not affect the rights and freedom, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, enjoyed by Hong Kong citizens.
The Hong Kong SAR Government denounced any such irresponsible remarks by foreign political figures.
Foreign governments should stop their scaremongering and interfering in any form in the internal affairs of the Hong Kong SAR, it said, adding they should respect the importance attached to peace, stability and prosperity by the Hong Kong people under the “one country, two systems” principle.