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China’s Zhao Lijian Counters Robert O'Brien, Insists National Security Is Every Nation’s Right

May 26, 2020 (EIRNS)—During the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular May 25 press briefing, spokesman Zhao Lijian had some choice words for U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien’s arrogant threats against China over Hong Kong. O’Brien railed against Beijing’s intention of establishing a new national security law, which would be applied to Hong Kong.

Zhao pointedly stated that no sovereign state will allow any activities that endanger its national security on its own territory. As the U.S. has enacted many laws to strengthen its own national security, it should understand this. Yet, he observed, the U.S. has blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs, trying to harm its national security.

The legal basis for the central government’s administration of Hong Kong, Zhao said, is China’s national Constitution and Basic Law, and emphatically not the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The last was signed in 1984, in preparation for Britain’s July 1, 1997 return of Hong Kong to China, by which China would exercise its sovereignty over Hong Kong, premised on the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

Zhao demanded, “what on Earth does the declaration have to do with the U.S.? With Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, the U.K.’s rights and obligations stipulated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration were all completed. The U.S. side has no legal basis or right to invoke the Joint Statement to make irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs.” So, “China’s Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs.”

Zhao also underscored that the National People’s Congress proposed national security legislation affects only a very small group of people in Hong Kong—those who are subverting state power, carrying out terrorist activity or colluding with foreign forces and interfering with Hong Kong’s Special Administration Region’s (HKSAR) legitimate activities. Thus, the law will protect law-abiding citizens, who are the overwhelming majority, and guarantee the legitimate rights of all Hong Kong citizens.

Zhao also countered to O’Brien’s claim that China may be engaging in espionage to steal U.S. research and technology for developing a vaccine. “COVID-19 vaccine development is not a race between China and the U.S., but a race between mankind and the virus. No matter which country is the first to develop and deploy a vaccine, it will be a great contribution to all mankind in this fight. Mankind is racing against the virus, which claims live ruthlessly every day.”

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