Beijing blasts foreign govt comments on Legco incident

July 03, 2019 17:35
The morning-after scene following the storming of the Legco complex on Monday night. Photo: HKEJ

Beijing reacted strongly to comments by foreign governments regarding the storming and vandalizing of the Legislative Council complex on Monday night, saying they should stop interfering in China's sovereignty and Hong Kong's stability, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council expressed its firm support for the Hong Kong SAR government and the police in upholding the rule of law and holding the lawbreakers accountable in accordance with the law.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong SAR also condemned the violent incident and accused foreign governments of "double standard" for using human rights and freedom as an excuse to intervene in Hong Kong's internal affairs, China Daily reported.

US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday that the incident was about people wanting democracy.

“Well, they’re looking for democracy and I think most people want democracy. Unfortunately, some governments don’t want democracy,” Trump said.

“That’s what it’s all about. It’s all about democracy. There’s nothing better.”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's last colonial governor, Chris Patten, said he felt deep regret about the incident.

What happened was a tragedy triggered by the government’s refusal to respond to protesters’ demands and what’s more serious was that Beijing insisted that foreign forces were behind it, the British politician said.

He stressed, however, that there is no excuse to use violence to replace peaceful expression as he urged all sides to sit down and have a dialogue.

At the reception held on Tuesday to celebrate the US Independence Day, Kurt Tong, the US consul general to Hong Kong and Macau, told media that he does not think the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act needs to be revised, and denied that his country has ever interfered with Hong Kong affairs.

Nonetheless, Tong said the fact that more than 4,000 US companies are currently operating in Hong Kong and many American citizens are living in the city means that the United States has every right to express its concerns over the city’s policies.

Asked whether Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had not done enough to prevent the storming of the Legco building from happening, Tong said he is not qualified to comment because he is not a Hongkonger.

He noted, however, that Lam seemed quite sincere when she delivered her speech at Monday’s reception for the 22nd anniversary of the handover.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong issued a press release saying it joins the chief executive “in condemning the violence displayed [Monday night] by demonstrators in their occupation” of the Legco.

“We believe the violent protests of recent days do not reflect how the majority of people in this dynamic and advanced economy would choose to be heard. We sincerely hope that Hong Kong will find ways for communication and collaboration between the government and the public in order to bring out the best of what Hong Kong has to offer as a premier business and financial hub,” the chamber said.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also condemned any violent conduct by any side.

At the same time, he called on the Lam administration not to make the incident an excuse to exert oppression but should strive to understand the reason behind it instead.

"It is imperative that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, and the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people, are fully respected in line with the Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law. We have made our position on this clear to the Chinese government, both publicly and in private, and will continue to do so,” Hunt said ahead of the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong SAR said: "A small number of countries and organizations, however, have deliberately confounded peaceful demonstrations with violent crimes."

In those countries, the office said, the police never hesitate to arrest those participating in massive protests, but now they choose to “turn a blind eye to and be so tolerant with” what violent criminals in Hong Kong did to Legco.

Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong lashed out at extreme protesters for disregarding all laws and causing great damage to the Legco complex.

Such shocking and infuriating acts must not be tolerated and the government to hold those responsible for such violent acts accountable, the office said.

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