Last month, I paid a visit to Washington at the invitation of US congressman Robert Pittenger, to attend the Parliamentary Intelligence Security Forum chaired by him. It was my pleasure meeting congressmen, representatives from US business sectors and acclaimed experts with deep exposure to, and expertise in, countering terrorism financing and money laundering.
I was given an opportunity to express Hong Kong’s eagerness to meet international standards in this regard. Hong Kong has always been an international city, and the need to meet international standards runs deep here. US representatives are well aware of that. Over the years, we have indeed seen growing foreign investments in Hong Kong.
During this visit, I also met officials from the US Department of State. I did raise the issue of public concern over the recent report released by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) suggesting that Hong Kong’s unique customs status be changed. In response to my question, the State Department clearly explained that the USCC report was, by no means, an official report released by the department.
Indeed, I didn’t hear any statement made by the State Department that it would change our special customs status. Rather, with about 1,300 US companies in Hong Kong, the bilateral trade relationship is of crucial importance to both sides, and Hong Kong’s unique customs status under “one country two systems” is, I trust, also mutually beneficial.
The US State Department response is more than enough to address public concern about the matter, so the opposition camp ought not carry on with its scaremongering.
During my meeting with State Department officials, they did raise their concern over the disqualifications of Legislative Council candidates, the banning of the Hong Kong National Party and the Victor Mallet visa incident.
I explained to them the legal rationale behind actions taken by the government, and that advocating Hong Kong independence or harming the territorial integrity of China went against the Basic Law and the one country, two systems principle. It was all done in strict accordance with the law, and had nothing to do with political censorship. They responded that they would continue to pay attention to human rights and the protection of freedoms in Hong Kong.
Holden Chow, member of the Legislative Council, DAB
South China Morning Post