HKSARG strongly opposes the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission report

     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today (November 16) vehemently refutes the "report" issued by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) ("Report") which again made slandering remarks and ill-intentioned political attacks against the HKSAR.

     HKSAR is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China (China). The HKSAR Government urges again the United States (US) to respect the basic norms governing international relations and stop maliciously interfering in the affairs of the HKSAR.

Improving the Electoral System, full and faithful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and "patriots administering Hong Kong"

     The HKSAR Government must seriously point out the untruthful allegations against the improved electoral system of the HKSAR in the "Report". The improved electoral system of the HKSAR puts in place legal safeguards to ensure full implementation of "patriots administering Hong Kong". Keeping political power in the hands of patriots is a political rule commonly adopted in the world. No one in any country or region in the world will ever allow political power to fall into the hands of forces or individuals who do not love, or even sell out or betray, their own country. Regardless of one's background, whoever meets the requirements and criteria of patriots, can participate in elections in accordance with the law and serve the Hong Kong public by entering into the governance structure of HKSAR.

     In accordance with the improved electoral system, the seventh-term LegCo Election and the sixth-term CE Election were successfully held by the HKSAR Government on December 19, 2021 and May 8, 2022 respectively, in strict accordance with the election laws of the HKSAR in an open, fair and honest manner, fully demonstrating broad representation, fair competition, political inclusiveness and balanced participation of the new electoral system. The new electoral system entirely conforms to both the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and the actual situation of Hong Kong. It is conducive to safeguarding Hong Kong residents' democratic rights and Hong Kong's democratic development, and maintaining Hong Kong's long term prosperity and stability.

The Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) and enacting legislation on Article 23 of Basic Law

     The USCC's "Report" has time and again made up excuses which deviate from the facts to maliciously slander the NSL, laying bare its despicable political motives.

     The NSL clearly stipulates the four categories of offences that endanger national security. The HKSAR Government must again emphasise that law-abiding people, including Hong Kong residents as well as overseas tourists and investors, will not unwittingly violate the law. All law enforcement actions taken by the law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people and entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation. Suggestions that persons or organisations with certain backgrounds should be immune to legal sanctions for their illegal acts and activities and be granted privileges to break the law are totally contrary to the rule of law.

     As an international practice, every state will enact laws to safeguard national security. Enacting local legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law is the constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR, and for which there are also practical needs. The HKSAR Government is taking forward the work concerned. USCC's attempt to smear the legislative exercise before any legislative proposals are promulgated is contemptible.

Safeguarding Due Administration of Justice and Rule of Law

     The Government will safeguard independent judicial power, fully support the Judiciary in exercising its judicial power independently and safeguard due administration of justice and the rule of law. Articles 2, 19 and 85 of the Basic Law specifically provide that HKSAR enjoy independent judicial power and final adjudication power while the courts of the HKSAR shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference.

     The Department of Justice (DoJ) controls criminal prosecutions, free from any interference by virtue of Article 63 of the Basic Law. All prosecutorial decisions are based on evidence, applicable laws and the Prosecution Code. Prosecutions would only be commenced if there is sufficient admissible evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction. Hong Kong is governed by the rule of law where laws must be observed and lawbreakers will be held to account in accordance with the law. No one is above the law. Cases will never be handled any differently owing to the political beliefs or background of the persons involved. No one should interfere with independent prosecutorial decisions which are made strictly in accordance with the law. DoJ will continue to discharge its constitutional duties without fear or favour.

     The NSL clearly stipulates that the important principles of the rule of law should be adhered to, including conviction and punishment in accordance with the law, presumption of innocence and protection of the right to defend oneself. The prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the offence was committed knowingly or intentionally by the defendant before he or she may be found guilty by the court. The Judiciary exercises judicial power independently in accordance with the law, and everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to a fair hearing.

Rights and Freedom

     The HKSAR Government is firmly committed to upholding the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents as protected under the law. Since the return to the Motherland, human rights in the HKSAR have always been robustly guaranteed constitutionally by both the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law. The NSL clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the HKSAR. The rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, which the residents of the HKSAR enjoy under the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong shall be protected in accordance with the law. However, such rights and freedoms are not absolute. The ICCPR also expressly states that some of them may be subject to restrictions as prescribed by law that are necessary for protection of national security, public safety, public order or the rights and freedoms of others, etc.

School Curriculum and Language Education Policy

     The HKSAR Government strongly opposes the false ideas in the "Report" concerning the curricula of Chinese History and Citizenship and Social Development in secondary education as well as the language education policy in Hong Kong. They are biased, unsubstantiated and twisting the facts.

     Through studying important topics related to the development of Hong Kong, our country and the world, Citizenship and Social Development (CS) aims to broaden students' horizons, develop their critical thinking skills, and cultivate their positive values and attitudes and sense of national identity. The subject-based Mainland study tour and its related project learning is an integral part of the curriculum. It provides students with the opportunities to gain first-hand understanding of our country and develop deeper knowledge of and appreciation for the Chinese culture. As with other subjects, the textbooks of CS are included in the textbook review mechanism to ensure that the content is in line with the curriculum rationale, and aims and the information cited is accurate and factually correct. The related textbooks state that Hong Kong was never a "colony" and an indisputable fact that Hong Kong has been part of China's territory since ancient times. The Education Bureau published a "Clear the Air" article titled "Understanding the controversy over whether Hong Kong was a 'colony' from historical and legal perspectives" ( and stated clearly that the three treaties related to Hong Kong were unequal and unlawful in nature. As Chinese citizens, it is necessary for teachers and students living in this city to understand Chinese history and the fact that China has all along held the sovereignty of Hong Kong. The "Report" has distorted the truth by equating the curriculum refinement based on objective facts with falsification of history, exposing the malicious intent and corrupting political motives of the USCC.

     Hong Kong's policy on language education is to enhance the biliterate (Chinese and English) and trilingual (Cantonese, Putonghua and English) abilities of our students. To maintain our competitive edge and embrace the opportunities brought by the Mainland and all over the world, "biliteracy and trilingualism" has been taught at schools before China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. In fact, "biliteracy and trilingualism" has always been widely used by people from all sectors in Hong Kong. After China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, with the continuous booming development and the boundless opportunities in the Motherland, the education sector has actively nurtured students' ability to use Putonghua in order to enhance their competitiveness for the benefits of students. Such accusation on deprioritizing the importance of Cantonese is fabricated and completely fallicious.

Hong Kong-US Economic and Trade Relations

     The HKSAR Government has been establishing and maintaining economic and trade relations with places around the world in accordance with the "One Country, Two Systems" principle and, pursuant to Article 156 of the Basic Law and legislation of the host countries, set up 14 overseas Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs) as the official representatives of the HKSAR. In their respective jurisdictions and through various means, our ETOs in Washington DC, New York and San Francisco explain the policy initiatives of the HKSAR Government, promote Hong Kong's unique advantages and culture, refute erroneous reports, clarify misconceptions and foster exchanges with Hong Kong. ETOs also tell the good stories of Hong Kong and will step up efforts on attracting businesses and talents. ETOs will continue to actively liaise with stakeholders from various sectors and foster economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and the US on a mutually beneficial basis.

COVID-19 Epidemic

     The HKSAR Government expressed strong opposition to the report which slandered our anti-epidemic policies.

     The World Health Organization (WHO) announced last month that COVID-19 remained a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, bringing severe and adverse health impacts on the global population. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, also appealed to various governments to critically review and strengthen their policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential pathogens in future pandemic. 

     Around the globe, China is among the countries with lowest COVID-19 prevalence rate and death rate while the US has the highest total number of confirmed cases and total death toll. In fact, the US continues to record deaths resulting from COVID-19, with 2 344 in the latest week. The US Department of Health and Human Services also announced last month that the COVID-19 public health emergency be extended for 90 days in response to a potential surge of cases in the winter season. The HKSAR Government also noticed that the vaccination rate in the US is much lower than that in HKSAR. There is no place for the US to comment on the anti-epidemic policies of China, including HKSAR.

     The HKSAR Government's anti-epidemic policies are clear. Not to "lie flat", the HKSAR Government focuses on reducing critical cases and deaths in order to ensure the efficient operation of the healthcare system. The HKSAR Government will continue to boost the vaccination rate and conduct local nucleic acid tests for surveillance. In the meantime, the HKSAR Government aims to create the greatest room for people's livelihood and economic activities to achieve the greatest impact with the lowest cost. Upon assuming office, the current-term Government has rolled out a series of precise and risk-based anti-epidemic measures, including cancelling the route-specific flight suspension mechanism, lifting inbound compulsory quarantine requirement, introducing the Red and Amber Codes for risk-based classification and management, relaxing social distancing measures in phases, etc. The HKSAR Government reiterates that it will adopt a prudent and stable approach in relaxing various anti-epidemic measures, so as to avoid a rebound of the epidemic situation and backtracking along the path to normalcy as far as practicable.

Economic Prospect

     Regarding Hong Kong's economic prospect, while Hong Kong as a small and open economy which will face immense pressure in the short term against a deteriorating external economic environment, there are multifarious distinctive edges of Hong Kong under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle. They include the rule of law and judicial independence, free flow of capital, a free trade and investment regime, a simple and low tax system, a favourable business environment and an efficient government. These edges have long been attractive to enterprises across the world in doing business, investing and developing in Hong Kong, rendering our city one of the most competitive economies worldwide. In the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2022 published by the International Institute for Management Development this year, Hong Kong was ranked fifth globally, up from seventh last year. The Canadian Fraser Institute also continued to rank Hong Kong as the world's freest economy in the Economic Freedom of the World 2022 Annual Report. Hong Kong also remains as the third largest destination for global foreign direct investment in the World Investment Report 2022 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

     In fact, the HKSAR Government noticed that the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong recently expressed that most of its members intended to stay in Hong Kong.

     Under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, Hong Kong has the distinctive advantage of enjoying strong support of the Motherland and being closely connected to the world. With unparalleled connectivity to the Mainland and the rest of the world, Hong Kong's prospect is promising. As the centre of economic gravity in the world shifts eastward, the Mainland, along with other fast-growing economies in the region, will be a major engine of global economic growth and an abundant source of economic opportunities. Hong Kong will continue to play its unique role as a gateway and intermediary, with a view to reaping the enormous benefits of this trend and seizing the enormous development opportunities ahead. The HKSAR Government is working at full steam to create strong impetus for growth, forge better integration of a capable government and an efficient market, and proactively compete for enterprises and talents to strengthen the city's competitiveness, with a view to taking the city's economic development to new heights.

     Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre is unshakeable. With a stable financial market and our flourishing industries which span across sectors including banking, securities, asset management, private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, insurance and fintech etc., the prospect of our financial services industry is bright and heartening. In fact, Hong Kong is the international banking, capital market and asset management hubs in Asia. Three-quarters of the global top 100 banks have established presence in Hong Kong. We have also been the world's number-one initial public offering fundraising centre in seven of the last thirteen years and the world's largest centre for arranging Asian international bonds for the past six years in a row; and with over US$4.5 trillion worth of assets under management. Many international financial institutions base their global or regional headquarters in Hong Kong to leverage our efficient and transparent market and regulatory systems as well as our deepening mutual access with the Mainland to conduct their business and investment in the Mainland and the Asia-Pacific region. As Hong Kong returns to normalcy gradually, international financial institutions have reiterated their confidence in and commitment to Hong Kong as an international financial centre, and are planning to expand their business and investment in Hong Kong.

     Although the financial markets around the world have been volatile amid uncertainties in the global environment, Hong Kong's versatile financial market remains resilient with various facets of the financial market continuing to operate smoothly, thanks to our sound regulatory regime and robust risk management. The Linked Exchange Rate System remains the bedrock of the stability of our currency, and banking system is robust with ample liquidity. In fact, with social stability restored by the NSL as well as the close financial integration with the Mainland, investors are more interested in the Hong Kong market and have even more confidence in the prospect of Hong Kong's financial development.

Ends/Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Issued at HKT 1:30