Hong Kong opposes UK and US report on city’s deteriorating political and legal situation – National

Hong Kong’s government said on Friday it rejected “unfounded and ridiculous” allegations made in political reports from Britain and the United States of a deterioration in the political and legal situation due to the sweeping law. on the city’s national security.

The United States and Britain released strong reports on Thursday expressing concern about an erosion of freedoms in the global financial hub and the stifling of dissent in the legislature, civil society and city ​​media.

The news comes after two senior British judges resigned from Hong Kong’s top court on Wednesday over the national security law which punishes offenses such as subversion with a sentence of up to life imprisonment. .

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam called the resignations “politically motivated”, while China blamed them on “British pressure”.

“We strongly oppose the baseless and ridiculous allegations against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government made by foreign countries through various reports,” the Hong Kong government said in a statement.

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“The government urges foreign countries to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs through Hong Kong affairs.”

The UK report said it was no longer tenable for sitting UK judges to sit on Hong Kong’s highest court, citing that the city’s political and legal situation “has now deteriorated beyond the point where it is acceptable for serving UK judges to participate”.

British judges have long served among foreign lawyers appointed to the CFA, an arrangement put in place before Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997 to maintain confidence in a separate legal system widely seen as the foundation of Hong Kong’s social and commercial freedoms. the city.

Ten other foreign judges still sit on the Hong Kong court, six of whom are retired British lawyers, one Canadian and three Australians.

Businessmen and diplomats are particularly on the lookout, given the importance of legal independence to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial center.

The differences between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese cities “are narrowing due to the continued repression by the People’s Republic of China,” Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said in the report.

The Hong Kong government has said it is proud of its “unwavering commitment” to the rule of law and an independent judiciary.

He said he was firmly committed to protecting freedom of the press and of expression, with the media able to monitor government work and criticize policies as long as it was not “in breach of the law”.

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(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Michael Perry)

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