The Hong Kong government on Tuesday rejected as "irresponsible" heavy criticism from Britain's Foreign Office of Beijing's actions in the SAR, accusing London of adopting double standards.
The report, published on Monday, said Britain was considering pulling senior British judges out of their roles in Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal and reiterated London's view that the new National Security Law and the expulsion of four lawmakers breached the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
In a statement, the Hong Kong administration said: "We strongly object to sweeping attacks and groundless accusations on several recent developments in the HKSAR contained in the UK six-monthly Report on Hong Kong released on November 23."
It said the National Security Law was introduced in the aftermath of "acts and activities undermining social order which endangered Hong Kong’s stability, especially those we had seen in the latter part of 2019".
"Hong Kong, [which] used to be one of the safest cities in the world, was besieged by escalating violence," it added.
It said that since the security law was introduced "violence has significantly subsided and Hong Kong people could once again enjoy their basic rights and freedoms in accordance with the law".
"National security is a matter within the purview of the Central Authorities," the statement added. "Whether it is a unitary or federal state, legislation on national security is invariably carried out by the central authorities rather than local governments."
On the Legco elections, which were postponed from their September date due to the coronavirus pandemic, the statement said "we could not help but mocked at the double standards adopted by the UK Government", pointing out that Britain postponed local elections due in May last year.
The British report said the delay to the elections "compounded" concern about the authorities' interference in the legislature, adding: "Any additional delays to these elections, beyond September 2021, would be utterly unacceptable."
On the expulsion of four lawmakers, the Hong Kong government said Britain had "ignored the constitutional and legal requirement for people in public office, notably legislators, to uphold the oath they made in swearing allegiance to the HKSAR and upholding the Basic Law".
It pointed out that Britain did not allow legislators to take office unless they took an oath.
Govt hits back at 'irresponsible' UK report
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