US congressman's remarks on HK criticized

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A spokesperson of the Office of the Commissioner of China's Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Sunday deplored and firmly opposed the false remarks by a U.S. congressman on Hong Kong police's handling of recent protests.

Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has said that he was "deeply concerned by the reports of police brutality in response to peaceful protests in Hong Kong" and that "allegations of police violence over the past weeks have tarnished Hong Kong's international reputation for good governance and the fair administration of justice."

The spokesperson said in a statement that since the return of Hong Kong, China's central government has been committed to the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy in the HKSAR in strict accordance with the constitution and the Basic Law. As a result, Hong Kong has maintained prosperity and stability, and Hong Kong people enjoy unprecedentedly extensive rights and freedoms.

Hong Kong ranked the 16th for its rule of law performance in 2018, which was higher than that of the United States, while it ranked below 60th in 1996, said the spokesperson.

"These are undeniable facts. So what right do American politicians have to criticize human rights, freedoms and the rule of law of Hong Kong?" the spokesperson said, adding that the U.S. politicians have never spoken out against the absence of human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong during the period when Hong Kong was under colonial rule, nor showed concern about the status and situation of Hong Kong people back then.

Now the U.S. politicians are pointing fingers at Hong Kong that enjoys unprecedented rights and freedoms, and alleging that the Chinese government continues to chip away at its freedoms and rights.

"Isn't this bare-faced lying and typical double standard?" the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson stressed that the rule of law is a core value of Hong Kong society and a cornerstone of its success. It is widely recognized that the SAR government has been committed to law-based governance since the return of Hong Kong and that the rule of law here continues to improve.

By proposing to amend the two ordinances related to fugitive offenders in accordance with law, the SAR government aims to plug the loophole in the existing legal system and uphold social justice. The legislative procedure proceeded in accordance with law, and the amendments are in line with international law and common practices. It is, therefore, a just and reasonable effort that champions and helps improve the rule of law in Hong Kong, the spokesperson said.

When controversy arose, the SAR government announced suspending the legislative exercise so as to listen more extensively to various sectors of society and restore calm and reason to society, which reflects how much it respects public opinion and commits itself to law-based governance, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson pointed out that violence cannot be justified by any demands. Some radicals in Hong Kong have run amok, who flagrantly stormed and vandalized the Legislative Council (LegCo) building, assaulted and even brutally bit off a finger of a police officer, stormed an institution of the central government in Hong Kong, and defaced the national emblem. Such astonishing violent and illegal acts seriously trample upon the rule of law in Hong Kong, gravely undermine public order and security, and openly challenge the red line of "one country, two systems," the spokesperson said.

Instead of admitting that some protesters are indeed radical, however, some U.S. politicians and individual media insist that their protests were peaceful, accuse the Hong Kong police of brutality and call on the SAR government to uphold its commitment. "Isn't this mudslinging against their own conscience?" the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that anyone without bias would acknowledge that the Hong Kong police have exercised great restraint and showed admiring professionalism in dealing with violence and deliberate provocation by rioters. Over the past few days, some citizens in New York poured water on local police officers, which was condemned at all levels from the U.S. president to the mayor and to the police as "completely unacceptable."

"So why do some Americans once and again connive at the extreme violent and anti-law acts by radicals in Hong Kong to storm and vandalize the LegCo building, assault the police and bite off an officer's finger, storm the central government institution and deface the national emblem?" said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson emphasized that China's central government firmly supports Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the SAR government in law-based governance, and the Hong Kong police in fulfilling their duties to protect public order and security in accordance with law. It firmly opposes any attempts by foreign governments, organizations or individuals to interfere with Hong Kong affairs and undermine the SAR's prosperity and stability.

"We again urge some foreign politicians to immediately stop sending out wrong signals on violent illegal acts, immediately stop saying or doing anything that smears 'one country, two systems' and undermines Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's domestic affairs as a whole," the spokesperson said. 

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