China rejects British concerns over
'legal interference' in Hong Kong
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[October 13, 2016]
BEIJING (Reuters) - China expressed
anger on Thursday after Britain's foreign minister said he continued to
have concerns about legal interference by Beijing in Hong Kong despite
pledges to the contrary.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a report on its former
colony that he had specific concerns about the "integrity of Hong Kong's
law enforcement" which is separate from mainland China under the "one
country, two systems" arrangement under which Hong Kong returned to
China in 1997.
Johnson said the case of Lee Bo and four other Hong Kong booksellers who
went missing and were subsequently found to have been detained by China
was a serious breach of the Sino-British joint declaration on Hong Kong
that undermined "one country, two systems".
"Although Lee Po has now returned to Hong Kong, the issues raised by the
case remain of concern," he said, using an alternate spelling for Lee's
The controversy over the Hong Kong booksellers erupted last year when
the five men associated with a Hong Kong store that had specialized in
gossipy books about China's leaders, including President Xi Jinping,
disappeared. Such books are banned on the mainland, but legal in Hong
China has denied wrongdoing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was
"resolutely opposed" to Britain's report, and that it could not accept
its "unfounded criticism" of China.
He said Hong Kong people enjoyed full rights and freedom under law.
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Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks at the annual
Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 2,
2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
"Hong Kong is China's domestic affair. Foreign countries have no
right to interfere," Geng told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
"We demand that Britain be discreet with its words and stop
interfering in Hong Kong affairs."
Hong Kong's government also rejected the report, saying foreign
governments should not interfere in its affairs.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Farah Master
in Hong Kong; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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