China's foreign ministry in Hong Kong has criticized a recent six-month report by Britain on the situation in the financial hub, stating that it overlooks positive societal conditions and a stable business environment while supporting what they describe as "anti-China" chaos.
The British report, covering the period from January 1 to June 30, expressed concerns about the extension of Beijing-imposed national security law beyond genuine national security concerns. This law was enacted in 2020 in response to the 2019 anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
While Western governments have criticized the national security law for curbing social and political freedoms, Chinese and Hong Kong officials argue that it was necessary to restore stability. China's foreign ministry affirmed that Hong Kong has been successful in implementing the 'one country, two systems' principle since its return from British rule in 1997.
The Chinese ministry also pointed to issues in the UK, such as increasing poverty rates and rising crime levels, questioning the UK's credibility in criticizing Hong Kong's democracy and human rights situation.
The UK, in its report, expressed concerns about attempts to suppress the protest anthem 'Glory to Hong Kong' and the delay in media tycoon Jimmy Lai's national security trial. The UK reiterated its commitment to defending universal human rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Regarding Jimmy Lai's prosecution, the UK deemed it highly politicized and continued to press for consular access. The report also noted that Hong Kong police had issued arrest warrants and bounties against individuals in the UK and elsewhere, stating that such actions would not be tolerated.
The report highlighted that Hong Kong's legal and judicial systems are facing challenges, with the national security law giving the Chief Executive authority over security matters above that of the city's courts, which remain independent but are now tasked with adjudicating on the law.