The Hong Kong government and police have refuted allegations from the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) of rights violations as “biased” and lacking “actual evidence.”
The parliamentary group released an inquiry report into the force’s possible mistreatment of humanitarian aid workers during the city’s pro-democracy protests on Tuesday. Large-scale social unrest erupted last June over an ill-fated extradition bill. Since then, demonstrators have demanded an independent probe into the police handling of the clashes.
The APPG launched an investigation in January and called on the public to submit written evidence. It subsequently conducted oral hearings and produced the 80-page report containing the claims. It also urged the UK government to impose sanctions on officials deemed responsible such actions, similar to the US Magnitsky Act.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong government refuted the report in a statement on Wednesday, saying its lacked evidence to back calls for punitive actions.
“The HKSAR government strongly deplores and opposes the biased comments carried in the report. [The] APPG does not represent the UK Parliament and comments in the report come from the information tendered by allegedly unnamed or anonymous persons. There is no actual evidence with regard to the reasons for imposing the so-called sanctions against Hong Kong,” it read.
The spokesperson slammed Downing Street for “interfering” into Hong Kong matters, which “remain China’s internal affair.” They also “strongly” objected to some UK politicians’ criticisms of the Beijing-imposed security law, criminalising subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.
“Since the enactment of the national security law, some politicians from the UK have made it an issue, neglecting the fact that the UK has also put in place relevant legislation and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding its national security and sovereignty,” they wrote.
“The HKSAR government strongly objects to such and urges other countries to stop all political manipulation and interference.”
The government spokesperson also highlighted the controversial Independent Police Complaints Council report, released in May, that largely cleared the force of misconduct; however, rights groups criticised it as misleading.
“The police attach great importance to the safety and well-being of all persons (including protesters, arrested persons, healthcare workers, etc.) at scene of public order events and will not obstruct any bona fide rescue work.”
Meanwhile, the force objected to claims made in the APPG report accusing officers of preventing humanitarian aid workers from providing medical assistance to injured people at protests.
“The Hong Kong police strongly object to the APPG report accusing us for violating human rights… the Hong Kong Police Force [reiterates] that we have the statutory duty to take lawful measures to maintain public order and our use of force guidelines are always consistent with the international standards,” it wrote in a tweet.