The head of the commissioner's office of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region strongly hit out at former British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, over his "absurd" remarks on Hong Kong's situation.
Patten should stop telling blatant lies, the official said, lashing out at an article published in the Financial Times on July 6. Patten was urged to respect the facts and stop misbehaving.
"Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland in 1997, China's central government — in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law — has ensured a high degree of autonomy in the HKSAR by firmly implementing the principles of "One Country, Two Systems" and "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong", said the official in a statement on the office's website.Such efforts have achieved widely recognized success, given the significant improvement of Hong Kong’s international influence and competitiveness, the official said.
Hong Kong now has an economy twice the size of what it was in 1997 — ranked the world's freest for over 20 consecutive years by the U.S. Heritage Foundation think tank — while it leapfrogged from 60th in 1996 to 16th in 2018 on the Independent Commission Against Corruption's Rule of Law Index, according to the statement.
In no way can Patten deny the fact Hong Kong people, once "second-class citizens" during the colonial period, have stood up as their own masters with unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms in accordance with law, the official argued.
The official pointed out Patten, last British governor of Hong Kong, failed to ensure democracy and freedom in Hong Kong during his rule. Patten now instead alleges the city lacks democracy and freedom after its return, wrongly picturing himself as a "guardian" of human rights and freedoms.
The official also questioned the so-called democracy during the British colonial period. As a matter of fact, people at that time did not have the right to independently elect their leaders and legislators — Patten himself was not democratically elected.
When recalling the violent attack on the Legislative Council (LegCo) Complex in Hong Kong on July 8, the official said there is no claim that can be an excuse for extreme violence.
Some protesters on July 8 attacked the police with toxic powder, intruded on the LegCo Complex in an extremely violent way and destroyed the chamber.
While Hong Kong society suffered from the trauma of extreme violence and the international community was condemning violence in unison, Patten was calling black white by deliberately confusing violence and peaceful demonstrations, the official said.
The statement also said Patten was "selectively blind" to serious violations of law and violence that had desecrated the spirit of the rule of law, trampled on the rule of law in Hong Kong, harmed the rights and security of the vast majority of Hong Kong residents and lost all moral conscience.
Responding to Patten's repeated remarks on the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the official said as Hong Kong returned to the motherland, the rights and obligations of the British side under the Joint Declaration were completely fulfilled.
On July 1, 1997, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and the Chinese government started administering it in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law.
The British side has no sovereignty over Hong Kong, nor has it had administrative power or supervisory power since its return. It has no "responsibility" for Hong Kong at all.
If there is any other responsibility for the British side, it is to strictly abide by the basic principles of international law concerning respect for the sovereignty of other countries and non-interference in their internal affairs, and do more to contribute to Hong Kong's prosperity, stability and tranquility rather than the contrary, the statement added.
With the title of the "last British governor of Hong Kong", Patten on the one hand wantonly slandered the HKSAR government and tarnished China's image, and on the other hand urged the British government to pressure the HKSAR government to withdraw its "amendments" to the fugitive law and threatened the Chinese government would face serious consequences if it failed to comply with its commitments.
This is a typical "double standard", the official said, adding Patten's acts have been condemned and rejected by all the Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots.
Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and China is unswervingly committed to safeguarding national sovereignty, security and prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the official stressed.
As the wheel of history rolls forward, Patten is still addicted to the dream of colonialism and unwilling to face the reality that Hong Kong was returned to its motherland 22 years ago, the official continued.
Patten should reflect on himself to correct mistakes, the official added.
The official also warned Patten to recognize the historical trend of China's development, respect the facts of the successful operation of "one country, two systems" and cease interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and undermining Sino-British relations.