Chinese embassy slams British security minister for ‘groundless attack’ on Hong Kong’s Article 23 national security law – Earn Charter

The Chinese embassy in London has strongly condemned the British security minister for his “groundless attack” on Hong Kong’s coming domestic national security law, describing his remarks as irresponsible and a show of double standards.

The embassy on Thursday also urged Minister of State Tom Tugendhat to stop meddling in China’s internal affairs, saying he had no right to do so.

“We firmly oppose this UK politician’s groundless attack on the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong,” an embassy spokesman said in a statement.

Britain’s Minister of State Tom Tugendhat arrives to attend a cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street in London in 2022. The minister has criticised Hong Kong’s coming national security legislation. Photo: AFP

Tugendhat on Tuesday said during a gathering with Hongkongers in the UK that the coming security legislation would achieve nothing but destroy prosperity in the city by damaging the rule of law, freedom and opportunities, according to Voice of America, the United States government’s external broadcaster.

The minister also said it was absurd for the Hong Kong government to assert that the new legislation would guarantee prosperity for the city, according to the broadcaster.

The government released a 110-page consultation paper on Tuesday in its second attempt to legislate Article 23 of the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, which requires Hong Kong to enact its own national security law.

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The first attempt, dating back to 2003, failed in the face of massive public opposition. The new legislation is expected to be approved within this year.

The embassy spokesman on Thursday said the legislation was “a due obligation” for the Hong Kong government to fulfil its constitutional responsibility, stressing that preventing, curbing and punishing acts and activities that endangered national security was a pressing task for the city.

“The legislation will protect the fundamental well-being of all [Hong Kong] residents and the interests of global investors in Hong Kong, and better safeguard its long-term stability and security,” the spokesman said.

“The UK just introduced its new National Security Act last year, yet now it is pointing fingers at the [enactment of national security legislation in Hong Kong]. This is nothing but sheer double standards.”

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The United Kingdom passed the act on July 11, 2023, to increase the authority of British law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat hostile foreign states.

“We urge UK politicians to stop making irresponsible remarks [about] Article 23 legislation and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs,” the spokesman said.

The proposed legislation for Article 23, which aims to complement the Beijing-imposed national security law, targets five major activities: treason, insurrection, incitement to mutiny and disaffection, and acts with seditious intention, sabotage, foreign interference, theft of state secrets and espionage.

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