Chinese ambassador rejects Britain's groundless accusation over qualification of HKSAR LegCo members

Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom

Chinese Ambassador to Britian Liu Xiaoming on Friday expressed "grave concern" over and "firm opposition" to Britain's groundless accusation against Chinese lawmakers' decision on the qualification of members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Liu made the remarks while meeting Sir Philip Barton, permanent under-secretary of British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Chinese embassy said in a statement published on its website Saturday.

Liu pointed out that in recent days, high-level officials of the FCDO have time and again made unwarranted accusation against the decision of the NPC Standing Committee of China on the qualification of LegCo members of the HKSAR and blatantly interfered in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs.

The decision on the qualification of LegCo members was passed Wednesday at the 23rd session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.

The NPC Standing Committee, Liu said, as the permanent body of China's highest organ of state power, has the right to rule on any constitutional issues in the implementation of the HKSAR Basic Law and the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong. The legal validity and authority of the NPC decision brooks no challenge.

Hong Kong residents express support on Thursday for the disqualification of four legislators by the HK government after a ruling by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. (Photo: China Daily)

"It is a basic political ethics in any country that holders of public office, legislators vested with legislative power in particular, shall uphold constitutional laws and pledge allegiance to the country. Nowhere in the world will holders of public office, legislators included, ever be allowed to breach their oath and betray their country, and get away with it," he said.

"Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The question of the qualification of Legislative Council members of HKSAR is China's internal affair. The Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, are firmly opposed to any words or actions of foreign countries or external forces that interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs," Liu said.

The Chinese diplomat said that by clinging to ideological bias, applying double standards and taking the Sino-British Joint Declaration as an excuse time and again to accuse China of "not fulfilling its international obligations," the British side is confusing right and wrong.

Liu pointed out that the core content of the Joint Declaration is China resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. All the rights and obligations regarding Britain in the Joint Declaration were fulfilled at the time of the handover.

He said that Britain has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of "supervision" over Hong Kong after the handover. Since the return of Hong Kong, the policies of "One Country, Two Systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been thoroughly implemented in the city.

Hong Kong residents now enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and extensive freedoms. These rights and freedoms are set forth in the Constitution of China and the HKSAR Basic Law, not the Joint Declaration, Liu noted.

The ambassador said that Hong Kong-related issues bear on China's core interests. China will remain unwavering in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.

The Chinese side urges the British side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and stop interfering in China's internal affairs, so as to avoid going down the wrong path, Liu added.