Freedom of speech is not absolute: Hong Kong government

British government concerned about pressure on basic freedoms

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Britain worried about pressure on basic freedoms in Hong Kong.

Britain worried about pressure on basic freedoms in Hong Kong. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Freedom of speech is not absolute, the government of Hong Kong responded Friday to growing concerns from the British government about recent developments 21 years after the handover to China.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed worry about pressure on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms in the latest edition of a six-monthly report to the British parliament Thursday.

Following a rebuke from China saying that advocating independence for the former British colony did not amount to free speech but was a violation of the Constitution, the Hong Kong government said Friday that “freedom of speech is not absolute.”

A government spokesman described the independence idea as damaging to national sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity, the Central News Agency reported.

The advocacy of independence for Hong Kong also violated the constitutional and legal bases for its Basic Law and went against the “One Country, Two Systems” concept, the spokesman said.

He also said the Hong Kong government valued basic rights such as the freedom of speech, as they were guaranteed by the Basic Law, but international conventions and court cases all agreed that such freedom was not absolute.