British Embassy Refutes China’s Disinformation on Hong Kong

June 24, 2020 Updated: June 24, 2020

The British embassy in China recently published a post calling attention to how the Chinese regime was spreading disinformation about the UK and Hong Kong, a former British colony.

The embassy compiled a list of Chinese articles in the June 23 web post, explaining how each article made an erroneous claim.

In one article published by Chinese state-run website China News on June 13, promoting that different sectors of Hong Kong welcomed Beijing’s proposed national security law, the embassy stated that while it was certainly true that some people supported the law, it was not correct to say “all of the population is in favor.”

The embassy also pointed to a poll by local newspaper Ming Pao conducted in early June, which showed that 64 percent were against Beijing’s decision to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature to propose a national security law in the Chinese-ruled city.

China’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), adopted the national security law for Hong Kong on May 28 after a ceremonial vote.

The law, which criminalizes those who engage in activities such as subversion and secession against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), will be implemented in Hong Kong after the NPC standing committee finalize its drafting of the law.

The embassy also rebutted a claim made in a May 28 article by state-run Beijing News, in which it stated that the NPC was acting in accordance with both the law in Hong Kong and China to propose the national security law.

“The new national security law has no legal basis and is contrary to both the Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s basic law,” the British embassy stated in response to the Beijing News article.

Under the handover agreement, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution or Basic Law was drafted, which is meant to guarantee the city a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years after 1997 under the “one country, two systems” model.

In Hong Kong, many local activists and pro-democracy lawmakers have voiced strong objection to the CCP’s law, saying it would undermine local autonomy and replace the current model with “one country, one system.” It also reignited local protests.

Meanwhile, a commentary published by China’s state-run CCTV on June 6 accused western governments, including the UK, of having double standards and not criticizing police violence that occurred in the United States. This comment indirectly suggested that western countries were biased for highlighting police violence against journalists and protesters in Hong Kong.

The embassy refuted CCTV’s charge, saying that it supports the right to peaceful protest wherever it happens in the world, including in the United States and Hong Kong.

“Due to the Great Firewall Chinese citizens are not always able to see where the UK raises its concerns outside China,” the embassy stated, while showing a tweet by the British ambassador to the U.S., Karen Pierce, that highlighted the issue of racial inequality in the United States.

China’s firewall blocks many foreign websites such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook, but some internet users use virtual private networks (VPNs) to access the banned platforms.

The embassy also disputed a June 9 article by state-run media Xinhua, which reported on remarks made by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, saying that Hong Kong affairs were China’s “internal affairs.”

In response to Yi’s claim, the embassy stated that Beijing needs to abide by international law, noting that it has violated its obligations under the Joint Declaration, including preserving Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Follow Frank on Twitter: @HwaiDer