Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Hong Kong affairs Beijing's internal matter, Pakistan tells UN panel

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Pakistan has said that Hong Kong's affairs are an internal matter of China, underscoring the importance of not interfering in the domestic affairs of sovereign states.

Pakistan made the comments while speaking on behalf of 55 countries at a UN panel, in response to a statement by Germany urging China to respect the rights of Uighur Muslims and expressing concern about the political situation in Hong Kong.

The declaration made on behalf of 39 countries called on Beijing to uphold the rights and freedoms of the residents of Hong Kong amid growing allegations of political repression following the imposition of a new national security law, according to Al Jazeera.

“The Hong Kong special administrative region is an inalienable part of China, and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that brook no interference by foreign forces,” Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Munir Akram told the General Assembly's Third Committee on Tuesday.

In his remarks, Akram named the countries which had authorised him to speak on their behalf, and said they supported China’s “one country, two systems” policy and stressed that legislative power on national security in any country rests with the state.

“The enactment of the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong is a legitimate measure that ensures the 'one country, two systems' [policy] goes steady and enduring, and that Hong Kong enjoys long term prosperity and stability,” he said.

“The legitimate rights and freedoms of Hong Kong's residents can be better exercised in a safe environment.”

Meanwhile, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun strongly refuted the statement by his German counterpart, Christoph Heusgen, and those “bent on provoking antagonism”.

He categorically rejected the disinformation that some countries were spreading to discredit China and attempting to meddle in its internal affairs under the guise of human rights.

Cuba also followed with a statement on behalf of 45 countries supporting China's measures in Xinjiang, stating that the steps taken by Beijing were carried out within the law to safeguard the rights of all ethnic groups in the province, the Washington Post reported.

Among the countries signing both the statements by Pakistan and Cuba were Russia, Syria, North Korea and Venezuela, the report added.

In July, China approved a contentious national security law that allows authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in Hong Kong, a move many saw as Beijing's boldest yet to erase the legal firewall between the semi-autonomous territory and the mainland's authoritarian Communist Party system.

The legislation is aimed at curbing subversive, secessionist and terrorist activities, as well as foreign intervention in the city's affairs. It followed months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year that at times descended into violence.

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