In this  Sept 29, 2022 photo, pedestrians cross a footbridge displaying the national flags of China and the regional flags of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the Wan Chai district, Hong Kong. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s overall ranking remains high on the 2022 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index – sixth position in East Asia and the Pacific, and 22nd out of 140 countries and jurisdictions worldwide, according to the government.

“The position is higher than some western countries which often unreasonably criticize the rule of law and human rights situation of Hong Kong,” a government spokesman said in a statement issued in response to media inquiries on the index late on Wednesday. 

The special administrative region’s ranking sixth in terms of order and security is sufficient proof the important role the National Security Law (NSL) is playing in maintaining order and security in the city, the spokesman said. 

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“Not only has it restored order from chaos and strengthened the rule of law, it has also earned the recognition in the international community.”

Pointing out that Hong Kong ranked ninth in the world in the "absence of corruption" category, the government said it is a testament to the effectiveness of Hong Kong’s anti-corruption work and its culture of probity.

Not only has it (National Security Law) restored order from chaos and strengthened the rule of law, it has also earned the recognition in the international community.

Spokesman, HKSAR govt

Noting that the slight adjustment of Hong Kong's ranking in some aspects is possibly “due to the lack of an accurate and overall understanding of the real situation of the city”, the spokesman said: “We will step up our efforts in explaining Hong Kong's situation to ensure that others have a correct understanding of the system in Hong Kong.”

Referring to opinions made by a relevant person as reported by the media, the spokesman said the government totally disagrees with the opinions, “the content of which, if true, only reflects the lack of understanding of the real situation of Hong Kong by the person”. 

Since Hong Kong’s reunification with the motherland, the SAR government has been firmly committed to safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the people, both of which are protected under the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, the spokesman said, adding that the courts of the city have been exercising its judicial power independently in accordance with the law.

“Since the implementation of NSL, Hong Kong has become safer, more stable and better protected in all aspects. Countries around the world take threat to national security seriously and our country is no exception.” 

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Referring to the practice of appointment of designated judges by the chief executive to handle NSL cases concerning national security, the spokesman stressed that the system of designated judges under NSL does not in any way affect the independence of the judiciary.