China on Wednesday condemned a British report that expressed concern over eroding freedoms in Hong Kong, accusing Britian of having “ignored and distorted the truth” about the territory.
Former British colony Hong Kong enjoys rights unseen on the Chinese mainland, including freedom of expression, which are protected in the handover agreement between China and Britain, but in recent years concern has grown in Hong Kong and abroad about its freedoms disappearing as Beijing tightens its grip on the territory.
In a report on Wednesday, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jeremy Hunt said he was “concerned that on civil and political freedoms, Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being reduced.”
Hunt cited recent moves by Hong Kong authorities, including banning a pro-independence party, screening political candidates and barring a Financial Times journalist who chaired a talk by an independence activist.
He described “recent pressure being applied on Hong Kong to move towards a mainland Chinese interpretation of civil and political freedoms, under which certain subjects are effectively off-limits for discussion and debate.”
In response, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Britain to “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs,” state media reported.
A spokesperson for the ministry in Hong Kong said the “so-called report ... ignored and distorted the truth by deliberately confusing the legitimate and lawful measures taken” to fight pro-independence forces and protect national security, Xinhua news agency reported.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) has previously criticized Britain’s six-monthly reports, noting they still continue “despite the unification.”
British activist Benedict Rogers said it was “the first time that the [British] Foreign and Commonwealth Office has publicly stated so clearly and strongly in a six-monthly report that not all aspects of ‘one country, two systems’ are functioning well.”
The report “reflects a serious deterioration of the situation on the ground,” Rogers said.
INCURSION: After 13 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the US Department of State said that China should rather ‘engage in meaningful dialogue’ with Taiwan US President Joe Biden’s administration on Saturday urged China to stop placing military pressure on Taiwan, while calling on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to engage in peaceful dialogue. The statement by the US Department of State was issued after 13 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. The air force scrambled fighter jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the planes left the ADIZ. The US “notes
‘INCREASED VIGILANCE’: A source of infection has not yet been found for the latest two cases in a hospital cluster, which should serve as a warning, Chen Shih-chung said A total of 2,991 people associated with a COVID-19 cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital have been put under home isolation, after an emergency expanded isolation order was issued on Sunday evening, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Fifteen people have so far tested positive in the cluster infection. The first case in the cluster (case No. 838) was reported on Jan. 12 — a doctor who treated an infected patient who had returned from the US. Contact tracing for the first 13 cases found connections to case No. 838, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who
FAMILY UNIT: The CECC warned that the eldest sister of the latest case, who also has COVID-19, visited Taoyuan’s Chungping evening market on Tuesday and Wednesday The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a domestic case of COVID-19, associated with a recent cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, and two imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the latest case (No. 885) is a woman in her 50s, who is the third daughter of case No. 881, a man in his 90s. The woman is the main caregiver of her elderly father, who had been hospitalized earlier this month and was treated by a nurse (case No. 852) from Monday to Thursday last week, he said, adding that
DUBIOUS HONOR? A man in his 90s, who tested positive yesterday and is part of the Taoyuan hospital cluster, is the oldest person in Taiwan to have contracted COVID-19 Taiwan yesterday recorded six new imported cases of COVID-19 and two new domestic cases, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the local infections are linked to the cluster at Taoyuan General Hospital, which now totals 12 cases. One of the domestic cases is a man in his 90s, who was treated earlier this month at Taoyuan General Hospital and tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday last week, four days before he was discharged, the center said in a statement. After one of the nurses on the ward was confirmed on Saturday last week to have contracted COVID-19, the