EU statement on Hong Kong arrests misleads public: Chinese envoy

The Chinese national flags and flags of the Hong Kong SAR flutter in Hong Kong. (Photo: Xinhua)

BRUSSELS - A spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU) on Friday condemned an EU statement on the recent arrests in Hong Kong as misleading the public.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy issued a declaration on Thursday, stating that more than 50 people were arrested by Hong Kong police on charges related to the holding in July 2020 of "pro-democracy primary elections."

The EU also urged the authorities to respect Hong Kong's rule of law and democratic principles, and called for an immediate release of those arrested.

Asked to comment on the issue, the Chinese spokesperson said the recent arrests by Hong Kong police of activists suspected of subversion are legal actions based on the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Hong Kong National Security Law. "These are China's internal affairs in which the EU side has no right to interfere."

Regarding the declaration, the spokesperson pointed out that the EU side deliberately used words like "democracy," "rule of law" and "primary elections" to mislead the public.

"Election is an important manifestation of citizens' exercise of political and democratic rights, and must be conducted in accordance with law and due procedures. Under Hong Kong's electoral system, there is no such thing as 'primary election'," said the spokesperson.

The so-called "primary elections" plotted and executed by the persons concerned in July 2020 were illegal, seriously disrupting and undermining the Hong Kong electoral system and its fairness and justice, and their "real purpose was to seize control of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and paralyze the SAR government," added the envoy.

The spokesperson said such moves posed brazen challenges to the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Hong Kong National Security Law. "In any country, those who violate the law must be held accountable. They cannot be exonerated simply because they were once lawmakers or activists. This is precisely what democracy and the rule of law are about."

Noting that the EU stated in the declaration that the "one country, two systems" principle and Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy must be respected, the spokesperson called on the bloc to respect China's judicial sovereignty, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs or in the lawful exercise of duties by Hong Kong police.