From Xinhua News Agency, June 22, 2021. Complete text:

Hong Kong – The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Tuesday [June 22] expressed strong disapproval of and firm opposition to the groundless accusations a small handful of US politicians and organizations continued to heap upon the HKSAR government’s lawful actions against Apple Daily.

The spokesperson for the commissioner’s office said that such blatant interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs, and even threats with sanctions on the pretext of press freedom have trampled upon the rule of law and judicial independence, and gravely violated international law and basic norms governing international relations.

The spokesperson said that Hong Kong is governed by the rule of law, where the law shall be strictly abided by and any lawbreaker shall be held accountable. Press freedom is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, nor does anyone have privilege above the law to sow trouble in Hong Kong and China at large.

The Hong Kong police’s actions against individuals and companies suspected of endangering national security are just efforts to combat crime and uphold law and order, and have nothing to do with press freedom, the spokesperson said.

The law enforcement and judicial authorities of the HKSAR have handled the cases fairly in strict accordance with legal mandates, provisions and procedures, and external forces are in no place to pass judgment.

The spokesperson said that some people, however, have kept obstructing the HKSAR’s law enforcement efforts and tried to condone and justify the suspects on the pretext of press freedom. Their true motive is to destabilize Hong Kong, undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, sow division in society, and play Hong Kong as a card to exert pressure on China. But such plots, no matter how packaged, are doomed to fail.

The spokesperson pointed out that the HKSAR Basic Law and the national security law in the HKSAR safeguard the lawful rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, including freedoms of speech and the press.

The spokesperson said that the introduction of the national security law in Hong Kong has ensured national security, social tranquility and peaceful lives of Hong Kong residents, and enabled Hong Kong to focus on fighting COVID-19 together, reigniting the economy and improving livelihoods.

“We are resolutely committed to defending national sovereignty, security and development interests, and to opposing hegemony and power politics,” the spokesperson said.

China has enacted the law on countering foreign sanctions, and any attempt by external forces to flagrantly meddle with Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs at large and infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, will definitely be firmly hit back, said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson reiterated that no pressure or sanction would ever stop Hong Kong’s transformation from chaos to stability to further prosperity, or sway the staunch determination of the central and the HKSAR governments to implement the national security law in Hong Kong and maintain Hong Kong’s long-term stability, or reverse the historical trend towards enduring success of “one country, two systems.”

“We urge the very few external forces to immediately stop their clumsy political show, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs at large under whatever pretext,” the spokesperson said.