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US House bill on HK spurs strong protest from Beijing

By ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-17 04:37
[Photo/IC]

The United States House of Representatives' passage on Tuesday of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 has sparked strong opposition from China, which said it will take countermeasures to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.

"If the relevant act were to become law, it would not only harm China's interests and China-US relations, but would also seriously damage US interests," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang in an online statement on Wednesday.

Geng said that the US House ignored the facts and called black "white" by referring to serious crimes like arson, vandalism and assaults on police as issues of human rights and democracy.

"It fully revealed the double standards the US applies, the hypocrisy of some people in the US on human rights and democracy, and their evil intentions to undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and contain China's development," he said.

He urged the US to clearly understand the situation, immediately stop advancing the act and stop meddling in Hong Kong's affairs, which are China's internal affairs.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the passage of the bill by the US House openly encourages opposition and radical forces in Hong Kong, tests the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle and tramples upon international law and basic norms governing international relations.

In the name of "human rights and democracy", some politicians in the US have attempted to undermine Hong Kong's role as an international finance, trade and shipping center, intimidated the just forces committed to stopping violence and ending chaos and provided shelter for violent extremists in Hong Kong, the statement said.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress also issued condemnations of the act on Wednesday.

Jon R. Taylor, chair of the University of Texas at San Antonio's department of political science and geography, told China Daily that the bill's consequences will likely be economic and cultural — with reduced opportunities for US investment and fewer US tourists.

Taylor said a stable Hong Kong serves everyone's interests, and the US should be concerned that the increasing acts of violence will only lead to greater chaos.

Mike Wong, vice-president of the San Francisco chapter of Veterans for Peace, said, "We oppose any interference by elected US lawmakers to spend US tax dollars to support the illegal protesting in Hong Kong."

Wong's organization is leading a petition calling on US lawmakers to end interference in Hong Kong and pay attention to domestic problems such as homelessness, inadequate healthcare, housing and gun violence.

Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok, chairman of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, said, politically, Hong Kong provides an angle for the US to make up a story or excuse to condemn China or possibly seek international condemnation. In addition, Ma said the act is a way for the US government to divert public attention from its own political or policy deficiencies.

Lia Zhu in San Francisco contributed to this story.

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