HONG KONG, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) said on Thursday that the essential problem in Hong Kong now is about the intention of the opposition and violent extremists to overthrow the legitimate SAR government, challenge the central government's authority, and undermine the constitutional basis of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong through violence.
Commissioner Xie Feng made the remarks at a speech delivered at the 2019 Colloquium on International Law with more than 300 Chinese and foreign guests attending, including Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR Carrie Lam.
"Sovereign equality and non-intervention are two fundamental principles of international law," which have been confirmed by various international law documents including the UN Charter, he said. International law also requires diplomatic agents and consular officers not to interfere in the internal affairs of the receiving state, he added.
However, "some countries have grossly interfered in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's domestic affairs, and even threatened to cancel economic and trade privileges of Hong Kong and sanction SAR government officials," Xie said.
Politicians of certain Western countries in Hong Kong have also frequently met with radical activists calling for so-called "Hong Kong independence."
"They have told blatant lies, applauded violence as 'a beautiful sight to behold', made unfounded allegations against the Hong Kong police, groundlessly accused Beijing of 'encroaching on Hong Kong people's autonomy and freedom'."
"Such remarks and actions have flagrantly defied the principle of non-intervention, and trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations," the commissioner said.
Xie also talked about the Sino-British Joint Declaration, saying that certain countries' recently citing the Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong to justify their right to "supervise" Hong Kong affairs does not hold water.
"Firstly, the Joint Declaration is an important instrument between China and the UK on China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and arrangements for the transitional period," he said. "There is no single clause in it that grants the UK any right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after its return, and all clauses concerning the UK have been fulfilled."
Secondly, the basic policies regarding Hong Kong elaborated in the Joint Declaration were proposed by China on its own and hence are completely China's domestic affairs, rather than an agreement between the two sides, he explained.
Thirdly, the Joint Declaration includes no clause that provides for British obligations to Hong Kong after its return. "To be brief, the UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of 'supervision' over Hong Kong whatsoever after the latter returned to China," neither do other countries and organizations have the right to meddle with Hong Kong affairs on the pretext of the Joint Declaration, Xie added.
The commissioner pointed out that it is China's Constitution that lays the very foundation of the HKSAR. The HKSAR where "one country, two systems" is practiced was established according to China's Constitution.
"Therefore, the Constitution of China and the Basic Law of Hong Kong together constitute the constitutional basis of the HKSAR, which is supported by solid political and legal grounds and successful practices. Focusing solely on either of the laws or separating and even confronting the two is incomplete and misleading, and inconsistent with the reality since Hong Kong's return," he elaborated.
Xie also believed that it's imperative to correctly understand the relationship between "one country" and "two systems".
"'One country' is the foundation of and prerequisite for 'two systems', and 'two systems' can only operate within the framework of 'one country'."
"Should the 'one country' principle be undermined, 'two systems' would not materialize," he said.
Xie warned that any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government and the authority of the Basic Law, or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is "absolutely impermissible."
"Our position is clear and consistent. We respect the differences between the 'two systems' and well leverage their benefits on the basis of 'one country', and ensure a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong in accordance with law. This has not and will not change."
He compared Hong Kong's democratic situation between during the more than 150 years of British colonial rule when no single Governor was democratically elected by the local people, and legislature members were directly appointed by the Governor most of the time, and today's Hong Kong when Hong Kong people are their own masters and govern affairs within the limits of the SAR's autonomy in accordance with law.
"It is an undeniable fact that Hong Kong citizens are enjoying unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, some people continue to claim 'rights' that never existed in Hong Kong, and even accuse China's central government of 'eroding' these 'rights.' Such argument is legally groundless and inconsistent with the reality, and has again exposed their prejudice, arrogance and hypocrisy," Xie noted.
He pointed out that the essential problem in Hong Kong now is not about human rights, freedoms or democracy as some claim. "It is, instead, about the attempt by certain violent extremists to coerce those who do not know the truth and ramp up violent crime on the pretext of opposing the amendments of the two ordinances related to fugitive transfer, seriously trampling upon law and order, threatening the security of the citizens, and damaging Hong Kong's prosperity and stability."
"It is about the intention of the opposition and violent extremists to overthrow the legitimate SAR government, challenge the Central Government's authority, and undermine the constitutional basis of 'one country, two systems' in Hong Kong through illegal means such as violence."
"It is about gross foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs and China's domestic affairs as a whole, violating international law and basic norms governing international relations with the aim of damaging Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and China's national sovereignty and security, and turning Hong Kong into a pawn to hold back China's national rejuvenation."
As Hong Kong is facing the most dangerous and gravest situation since its return, the commissioner said the top priority is to stop violence, end the chaos and restore order.
He said the central government firmly supports the SAR government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam in governing according to law, firmly supports the Hong Kong police and judiciary in decisively enforcing the law and fairly administering justice, and firmly supports the majority of Hong Kong compatriots in their just cause of opposing violence, upholding the rule of law, and supporting the police.
The commissioner warned that any violent act to undermine the rule of law, damage Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and challenge "one country, two systems" will be met with "severe legal punishment." Any interference in Hong Kong affairs by foreign governments, organizations or individuals will be resolutely fought back by all Chinese people.
"And any plot to hinder China's national rejuvenation is doomed to fail."