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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning’s Regular Press Conference on March 1, 2024

2024-03-01 18:56

CCTV: In a press statement, the Spokesperson of the US Department of State said that the US is closely monitoring the implications of Hong Kong’s national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law for US citizens, investments, and companies operating in Hong Kong and is concerned by the broad and vague definitions of “state secrets” and “external interference” and the extraterritorial reach of the legislation. He said that Article 23 risks compounding the 2020 National Security Law that has curtailed the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong and undermines the “One Country, Two Systems” framework. What’s the Ministry’s comment? 

Mao Ning: China strongly deplores and firmly opposes the US’s statement. 

Completing the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law and plugging loopholes to safeguard national security is the constitutional responsibility of the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and what must be done for the lasting stability and security in HKSAR and the sound implementation of One Country, Two Systems in the long run. The just concluded public consultation has shown that the Hong Kong society has reached a strong consensus to complete the legislation.

The legislation on Article 23 targets a handful of criminals gravely endangering our national security and protects in accordance with law the rights and freedoms which the residents of Hong Kong enjoy under the Basic Law and the provisions of relevant international covenants as applied to Hong Kong. Foreign citizens, investments, and companies operating in Hong Kong will also be protected in accordance with law. The extraterritorial effect of Article 23 is in strict compliance with international law and the common practices of all countries and regions. “State secrets” and “external interference” are defined with full consideration given to HKSAR’s realities and the common practices of all countries. The legislation is legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach.

The past three years since the Law of the PRC on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR was formulated and came into force is a period when Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive again, and when the international community cast a vote of confidence in Hong Kong’s prospects. After the Article 23 legislation is completed, Hong Kong’s high-quality development and high-standard opening up will be better guaranteed and Hong Kong residents and international investors will benefit from it.

The US has issued troves of laws safeguarding its own national security but thrown dirt on and labeled the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law. This is out-and-out political manipulation and hypocritical double standards. I want to stress again that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, which no country is in any position to point fingers at or interfere in. We urge the US to respect China’s sovereignty, observe the principles guiding international law and the basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs which are China’s internal affairs.

Anadolu Agency: Israeli forces opened fire to a crowd of Palestinian civilians who were waiting for emergency food aid in Gaza City, northern Gaza, killing 112 people and wounding over 760 others. What is China’s comment about the incident?

Mao Ning: China is shocked by and strongly condemns the incident. We mourn for the victims and extend sympathies to the injured. China urges parties concerned, especially Israel, to stop fighting at once, earnestly protect civilians and ensure access for humanitarian assistance to prevent an even worse humanitarian disaster from happening.

Reuters: It’s reported that the US government plans to investigate Chinese-made electrical vehicles to make sure that the vehicles have no data security loophole. What’s China’s comment on the US’s investigation?

Mao Ning: I shared China’s principled position yesterday on the protection of data privacy and security. I would like to stress that Chinese-made cars are popular globally not by using so-called “unfair practices”, but by emerging from the fierce market competition with technological innovation and superb quality. China’s door has been open to global auto companies, including US auto companies who fully shared in the dividends of China’s big market. By contrast, the US has engaged in trade protectionism and set up obstacles including discriminatory subsidy policies to obstruct access to the US market by Chinese-made cars. Such acts of politicizing economic and trade issues will only hinder the development of the US auto industry itself. China urges the US to respect the laws of market economy and the principles of fair competition, stop overstretching the concept of national security, stop its discriminatory suppression against Chinese companies, and uphold an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment.

Anadolu Agency: It’s been reported that the US has blocked a Security Council statement about killing of civilians who were waiting for aid in Gaza. What was China’s position during those deliberations and what do you think about the US blocking UNSC to execute its main responsibility concerning situation in Gaza?

Mao Ning: Gaza is suffering from unprecedented humanitarian disaster and the Security Council must adopt actions as soon as possible to realize a ceasefire. Relevant major countries need to truly uphold a just and responsible attitude, and earnestly play a constructive role for an immediate ceasefire. China will continue to work with all sides in the international community to galvanize responsible and meaningful Security Council action and make relentless efforts to work for an early ceasefire in Gaza, ease the humanitarian situation there, implement the two-State solution and realize lasting peace and security in the Middle East.

AFP: There was an incident recently in Chengdu involving some journalists from the Netherlands who faced some obstruction from local individuals claiming to be police officers during their report activities. The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has issued a statement today, saying it’s extremely disturbed. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comments either on this recent incident in Chengdu involving the Dutch journalists or response to today’s statement?

Mao Ning: I’m not aware of the specific information. More broadly, let me say that China protects the lawful rights and interests of permanent offices of foreign media organizations and foreign journalists in accordance with the law, and facilitates their news coverage and reporting activities carried out in accordance with the law. Foreign journalists working in China also need to abide by Chinese laws and regulations.

RIA Novosti: Russian President Putin said yesterday that the dangerous moves and statements of the West on foreign policy threaten a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilization. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment? 

Mao Ning: In January 2022, leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states issued a joint statement, affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. China believes that all nuclear weapon states need to embrace the idea of common security and uphold global strategic balance and stability. Under the current circumstances, parties need to jointly seek de-escalation and lower strategic risks. 

China calls on relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint and build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture through dialogue and consultation. 

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