BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- As a historical document, the Sino-British Joint Declaration has no binding force on the central government's administration of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Friday.
Lu made the remarks, in response to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's comments regarding Hong Kong, at a daily press briefing.
Johnson said Thursday that the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and a free media have all been central to Hong Kong's success.
He said the SAR's continued success will depend on the rights and freedoms protected by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which was signed in 1984.
In a press statement released Thursday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said "the United States remains concerned about any infringement of civil liberties in Hong Kong, including intrusions on press freedoms, and we support the further development of Hong Kong's democratic systems."
Commenting on the remarks from both Johnson and Nauert, Lu stressed that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and therefore Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs.
He said Hong Kong's success has already been proven during the 20 years since it's return to China, and outsiders should not make incorrect remarks regarding that.
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration made clear the respective obligations and responsibilities of both China and Britain on China's resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and arrangements for the transitional period, he said.
Since Hong Kong returned to the motherland 20 years ago, the declaration, as a historical document, no longer has any practical significance nor any binding force on the central government's administration of Hong Kong SAR, he added.
Britain has no sovereignty over, no governance of, and no superintendence over Hong Kong since it returned to China in 1997, Lu said, adding that the related individuals should recognize this reality.
Under the strong support of the central government and the motherland, all sectors of the Hong Kong SAR have achieved comprehensive development, he said.
From 1997 to 2016, Hong Kong's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent, ranking among the top advanced economies, Lu said.
Hong Kong has been ranked as the world's freest economy in the Index of Economic Freedom of The Heritage Foundation for 23 consecutive years, he said.
Hong Kong was rated the most competitive economy for the second year in a row in the 2017 World Competitiveness Yearbook released by the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, Lu said.
Some people may have mixed feelings about the successful practices of the "one country, two systems" principle, the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the peaceful living and working situation of Hong Kong residents, but the residents of Hong Kong are satisfied, Lu said.