Written by John Smith
China rebuked the UN experts who raised serious objections over the draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong which undermined the city’s autonomy.
China rebuked the United Nations experts who raised serious objections over the draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong which undermined the city’s autonomy. In a letter to the Chinese government, the UN human rights experts said that the measures adopted in the security law do not conform with the international legal obligations, especially with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters on September 4 that the law punishes an extremely small number and protects the absolute majority. The spokesperson, in a customary strong language, said that some people disregard the facts and maliciously slander China’s human rights situation.
“Stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s affairs in any way,” she added.
The 14-page letter was published on the UN human rights office on September 4, 48 hours after it was sent to the Chinese government. The UN special rapporteurs on human rights warned that parts of the legislation which define organising, planning, committing or participating in secession or subversion, “appear to criminalise speech acts, including political writing.”
“The law thus implicates both serious concerns of legality as well as undue limitations on freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly,” the letter read.
Hong Kong has been considered a bastion of press freedom within Chinese territories due to the autonomy granted to it under the Sino-British joint declaration before the city returned to Chinese rule. However, the draconian security law can push the press freedom on a further decline which already dropped seven places on the World Press Freedom Index this year.
The controversial law has been used to arrest several pro-democracy activists, including Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai who was later released after international outrage. The special rapporteurs have recommended a review and reconsideration of the legislation to ensure that the law is in compliance with China’s international human rights obligations with respect to Hong Kong.