China calls on UK to 'abandon colonial nostalgia' after report accuses Beijing of stifling dissent
Chinese officials have called on the UK government to “abandon colonial nostalgia” and cease meddling in Hong Kong’s internal affairs following London’s allegations over Beijing’s alleged use of national security law to stifle dissent and suppress alternative political viewpoints in the city.
The UK government submitted a six-monthly report on Hong Kong to parliament on Friday, accusing China of breaking its legal responsibilities under the 1984 Sino-British 'Joint Declaration'.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Beijing of undermining Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy, in the submitted review.
In the report's foreword, which covers events in Hong Kong from July to December 2020, Raab also mentioned several incidents that recently occurred in Hong Kong.
He cited the January alleged arrest of 55 opposition figures as proof that Beijing security legislation was being used to “stifle political opposition”, and warned that “confidence in the rule of law will be undermined if there are further politicized prosecution decisions”.
At a press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin hit back at the UK government, stressing that the report had “distorted the truth”.
“Since the introduction of the national security law about a year ago, Hong Kong has restored order and stability, and returned to the right track”, Webin said adding that “international capital has also continued to flow into Hong Kong”.
He stressed that with the full support of the central government, Hong Kong will surely “maintain its long-term stability and prosperity.”
Webin’s comments followed a strongly-worded statement of the spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry office in Hong Kong earlier on Friday.
Denouncing the report, the official called on the UK government to “face up to the trend of the times, abandon colonial nostalgia, immediately change course, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs as a whole”.
The spokesman went on to say that London has turned “a blind eye to the dark past of its colonial rule in Hong Kong”, adding that it had no right to speak about the Hong Kong affairs following the 1997 handover.
He addressed the Joint Declaration as China’s “exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong”, stressing that any claim of “obligation over Hong Kong” citing the Joint Declaration is a “pure distortion of history and law for the UK”.