The Chinese ambassador to the United States has implied that the US State Department is involved in the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, an allegation that Washington has strongly denied.
“There are individuals and groups in the United States who are really involved in the situation in Hong Kong,” Cui Tiankai told Foreign Policy magazine in an interview.
“They could be very deeply involved. If you ask them, they might deny it, but I wonder if they can deny this with a clear conscience.”
China’s state-owned media have alleged that “foreign forces” were behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy campaign.
But even Legislative Council president and pro-establishment lawmaker Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has said he does not believe foreigners are involved in the protests.
Cui acknowledged that the US government has denied any interference in the Hong Kong protests, and said China hopes that it can count on such assurance.
When pressed on whether Beijing takes the US statement at face value, Cui said: “If it’s an official statement from the United States government, the most powerful country in the world, how can you not take it seriously?”
He also said the US has an interest in Hong Kong’s continued stability and prosperity because it has “thousands of American companies operating there, tens of thousands of Americans living there”.
Since late September, thousands of protesters have been occupying major streets in the city to press their demand for a more democratic election process.
They are opposing Beijing’s decision to establish a nominating committee that will vet candidates to the 2017 election of the city’s next leader.
“The issue in Hong Kong is not democracy. It’s the rule of law, whether people should respect and maintain rule of law, or whether they should try to hurt it,” Cui said.
“People’s normal life and social order is disrupted. This is hurting the rule of law in Hong Kong. Without rule of law, there’s no democracy.”
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