Hong Kong has "firmly rejected" the conclusions of a recent US government report claiming that Beijing's national security crackdown has jeopardized US interests and continues to undermine the rule of law and freedoms in the territory.

The 2023 Hong Kong Policy Act Report, issued by the US State Department, accused Chinese and Hong Kong authorities of using "national security" as a pretext to erode rights and freedoms.

China implemented a national security law in Hong Kong in June 2020 without local legislative or consultative processes, criminalizing offenses such as subversion and allowing for potential life imprisonment. Hong Kong authorities argue that the law brought order after the pro-democracy protests in 2019, which demanded full democracy.

The US report stated, "Hong Kong authorities continued to arrest and prosecute people for peaceful political expression critical of the local and central governments, including for posting and forwarding social media posts." However, a Hong Kong government spokesperson strongly disapproved of the report, saying it contained "unfounded and fact-twisting remarks."

The spokesperson emphasized that national security is of "cardinal importance" and that all people, regardless of their political views or background, are equal under the law. Since 2020, over 230 individuals have been arrested for alleged national security violations, including 47 prominent democrats facing subversion conspiracy charges in a high-profile trial.

The US report also noted that the number of US citizens in Hong Kong has decreased from 85,000 in 2021 to approximately 70,000, citing factors such as stringent COVID restrictions and national security concerns.