The Hong Kong government on Thursday hit back at the European Union, saying the bloc had made what it called "unfounded accusations" on Beijing's overhaul of the SAR's political system.
Earlier in the day, the EU released a statement denouncing the sweeping changes as a breach by China of its international commitments.
It also pledged to increase support for the SAR's civil society, promote the freedom of expression here, and facilitate the movement of Hong Kong citizens.
However, a SAR government spokesman said the EU's claims were "misleading" and accused it of having "ulterior motives”, adding that the changes to the electoral system were both timely and necessary.
"Anti-China forces had created chaos in the Legislative Council, paralysed the operation of the government, and even colluded with external forces to undermine Hong Kong's safety and interests. No country or government could turn a blind eye to such dangers," the spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesman added that it's "hypocritical" for the EU to attack China by creating issues in Hong Kong using the pretext of human rights, democracy and autonomy.
He called on the international community to stop interfering with the city's affairs.
After the election overhaul, the number of directly-elected seats at the Legislative Council will be drastically reduced, and people who wish to stand in elections will have to be vetted by top government officials to ensure they are “patriots”.
They will also be required to secure nominations from members of an Election Committee, expected to be dominated by the pro-Beijing camp.
EU's claims on election overhaul 'unfounded': govt
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