China deplores 'Five Eyes' countries interfering in Hong Kong affairs

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China has voiced strong opposition after the so-called Five Eyes coalition accused Beijing of imposing new rules to disqualify Hong Kong lawmakers.

Last week, China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) public office holders must pledge allegiance to their home country, after which the HKSAR government issued a statement saying that four lawmakers not having pledged their allegiance were immediately disqualified.

On Wednesday, foreign ministers from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States criticized the move, saying China's central government was trying to silence critics in Hong Kong and called on Beijing to reverse course.

They also said the move harms the "One Country, Two Systems" and violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The Commissioner's Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has voiced strong opposition to the claims and denied curbing rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

The office said requiring politicians to be loyal to their country is not unique to China or the HKSAR and is a recognized international practice common to all countries.

It also said the NPC Standing Committee's stands by its decision is to defend "One Country, Two Systems" and better implement the principles of "the people of Hong Kong governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy.

It urged these countries to stop the double standards and interfering in China's domestic affairs.