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China warns UN against meddling in its affairs

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Protesters chant slogans and hold up flags as they stand behind a reporter (C) speaking to the camera during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong, China, on July 1, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

China warned United Nations (UN) experts to stop meddling in its affairs after officials from the body raised concerns about the application of a uniform national security law to Hong Kong.

“Some people disregard the facts and maliciously slander China’s human rights situation… and crudely interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a daily news briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“Stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s affairs in any way,” the Chinese official said.

The remarks came after the UN special rapporteurs on human rights said in a letter on Friday that parts of the law “appear to criminalize freedom of expression or any form of criticism” of China.

The rapporteurs also said the security law “poses a serious risk” to “fundamental freedoms.” They claimed the security law breached international legal obligations, and urged China to “reconsider” the decision to apply the law to semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Hong Kong enacted the national security law back in July, criminalizing sedition, secession, and subversion against mainland China.

Mainland security agencies were also officially allowed to be based in Hong Kong.

Critics of the law view it as a blow to the region’s autonomy and civil liberties. Brief protests were staged in Hong Kong after the law was proposed on May 22.

China says the law is necessary to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces following violent anti-government protests that escalated in June last year.

The US, Britain, and other Western countries have criticized the law and have moved to take action against Beijing and Hong Kong. China, however, insists that Hong Kong is a purely internal Chinese affair.

Hong Kong was rocked by violent protests over another bill that would have reformed its extradition law last year. Rioters vandalized the city, destroying public and private property and attacking anyone deemed to be pro-government. Hong Kong dropped that bill, but the acts of violence continued.

The Chinese government says the United States and Britain fanned the flames of that unrest in Hong Kong by supporting the protesters.

Hong Kong has been governed under the “one-country, two-system” model since the city — a former British colony — was returned to China in 1997.

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