FM office in HKSAR slams US politicians’ exculpation of riot leaders

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/19 17:09:59

An aerial view of Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Sunday solemnly refuted Western politicians' exculpation of Hong Kong riot leaders, claiming their rhetoric revealed their complicity with rioters who have created chaos in the city.

Chinese experts also noted that if these Western politicians really respect Hong Kong's rule of law, they should support Hong Kong government and police in punishing rioters who have violated local laws and heavily damaged the city's economy and local people's livelihood, or they are just applying a double standard.   

The Hong Kong police's arrest of suspects who organized and attended unapproved gatherings is an act of law enforcement that aims to safeguard Hong Kong's rule of law. Through this move, the Hong Kong government is executing its power mandated by the Basic Law, and no foreign country has the right to interfere, read a spokesperson's statement released on the office's website on Sunday. 

Some US politicians have ignored the facts, twisted the Sino-British Joint Declaration and exonerate those disturbing Hong Kong from a charge under the excuse of so-called transparency, rule of law and high degree of autonomy. These acts revealed the politicians' complicity with the suspects, which will certainly encounter the joint denunciation of the international community, read the statement. 

The spokesperson called on US politicians to adhere to the basic principle of international relations and stop interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong, stressing that the city is ruled by law and no one should place himself be above the law. 

The statement came after some US politicians expressed opposition to the Hong Kong government's arrests on Saturday of 15 Hong Kong riot leaders, including Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Hong Kong barrister Martin Lee Chu-ming.  

It followed another statement released on the office website on Saturday rebuffing  some UK politicians' similar accusations on the arrests, which revealed the UK side's double standard toward rioters. 

 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that "Beijing and its representatives in Hong Kong continue to take actions inconsistent with commitments made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that include transparency, the rule of law, and guarantees that Hong Kong will continue to 'enjoy a high degree of autonomy'," CNBC reported Saturday. 

In a separate statement, US Attorney General William Barr called the arrests "the latest assault on the rule of law and the liberty of the people of Hong Kong," according to the report. 

Britain's Foreign Office also criticized the arrests, saying, "the right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong's way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law," according to ABC. 

Western politicians should  not exculpate these suspects if they really respect Hong Kong's law, as riot actions these suspects organized and supported  have seriously damaged Hong Kong's social order, local people's livelihood and local economy, said Tian Feilong, an associate professor and expert on Hong Kong studies at Beihang University in Beijing.

Western politicians also show double standard on patriotic personages and so-called democratic fighters on Hong Kong-related affairs, but no one should place himself above the law, Tian noted. 

He stressed that the arrest of these riot leaders would help to restore the authority of law, protect local people's interest and nip local terrorism in the bud. 

The arrested individuals, aged between 24 and 81, were suspected of violating Hong Kong's Public Order Ordinance by organizing and taking part in unauthorized assemblies on August 18, October 1 and October 20, 2019, Hong Kong police said at a media briefing on Saturday afternoon. They are scheduled to appear before a court on May 18.

Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, an infamous and veteran "political media person," is a unique ghost-like existence in Hong Kong's diverse political ecosystem, according to Chinese mainland experts. His NEXT Digital, and Apple Daily in particular, is characterized by slanders and attacks on the governance of the Hong Kong government and China's overall political system. 

Lai has played complicated and multiple roles as "fundraiser," "propagandist," and "behind-the-scenes master" during Hong Kong's radical social movements, according to Chinese mainland analysts. 

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