Wed, Nov 27, 2019 - Page 1 News List

China rebukes US over legislation on Hong Kong unrest

Reuters, BEIJING and SHANGHAI

Then-Iowa governor Terry Branstad, who is now the US ambassador to China, attends the signing of an executive order in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on April 26, 2017.

Photo: EPA-EFE

China strongly condemns US legislation supporting protesters in Hong Kong and has lodged stern representations with Washington, Chinese Communist Party Central Foreign Affairs Commission Director Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) told Xinhua news agency in an interview yesterday.

“China resolutely opposes and strongly condemns the bill, and has expressed our severe position to the American side,” Yang was quoted as saying, urging the US to stop the bill from becoming law.

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday last week sent the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to the White House after the US Senate had unanimously passed it the day before.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday summoned US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest against the US Congress passing the legislation, saying that it amounted to interference in an internal Chinese matter.

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang (鄭澤光) pressed the US “to correct its errors and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China’s internal matters,” the ministry said in a notice posted on its Web site.

Anti-government demonstrators have protested in the streets of Hong Kong for six months amid increasing violence and fears that China will ratchet up its response to stop the civil disobedience.

The protesters are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to Hong Kong when Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law, despite delicate trade talks with Beijing.

Zheng said that the passage of the legislation was a form of encouragement of the violence, and constituted a serious breach of international law and the basic norms of international relations.

“China expresses its strong resentment and resolute opposition,” he said.

A US embassy spokesman said that Branstad told Zheng that the US was watching events in Hong Kong “with grave concern.”

“He conveyed that we condemn all forms of violence and intimidation. The ambassador added that the United States believes that societies are best served when diverse political views can be represented in genuinely free and fair elections,” the spokesman said.

A US Department of State spokeswoman earlier said that Hong Kong’s autonomy, its adherence to the rule of law and its commitment to protecting civil liberties were “key to preserving its special status under US law.”

“As the United States Government has said repeatedly, the Chinese Communist Party must honor its promises to the Hong Kong people, who only want the freedoms and liberties that they have been promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-filed treaty,” the spokeswoman said.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration is the 1984 agreement of the terms under which Britain would return Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, and included the promise of a “high degree of autonomy” for Hong Kong for 50 years from that date.

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