Hong Kong national security law has ‘drastically’ limited freedoms, U.K. report finds

Beijing has breached its legal obligations by undermining Hong Kong’s high autonomy and used a national security law to “substantially curtail freedoms” in the Granthshala financial center, according to a UK report on its former colony. is.

In a preface to the six-monthly report covering July–December 2020, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said a broad national security law imposed on the city in June last year was being used to suppress political protests .

Raab said there were “clear violations” of the 1984 Joint Declaration, signed by then-Chinese Prime Minister Zhao Xiang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, which guaranteed broad independence for Hong Kong.

The report criticized changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system by Beijing, prosecution decisions made by the Justice Department, and controversial security legislation.

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“That’s why we have now declared China in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration,” Raab said, adding that the national security law is not being used to target a small group of criminals. It was, as Beijing said.

“Rather, it is being used to reduce space for the expression of alternative political views and to stifle freedom of expression and legitimate political debate,” he said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The Hong Kong government described it as a “false remark”, which cannot be described as “further from the truth and clearly double standards”.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said, “Any objective person shall see that since the enactment of Hong Kong’s National Security Law, stability, which is vital to business activities, has been restored to society and the need for national security.” has been protected.”

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Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in June, which it defines as secession, treason and collusion with foreign forces with life in prison after a year of sometimes violent demonstrations.

Western governments and international human rights groups have expressed concern that the law would crush freedoms in Hong Kong.

Britain, which ruled for more than 150 years until it was handed back to China in 1997, has said the security law was a violation of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that paved the way for the handover.

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