China condemns US congressional approval of Hong Kong bill
Begging foreign intervention is ‘absurd’
Published: Sep 26, 2019 01:49 PM Updated: Sep 26, 2019 11:44 PM

Protesters set fire on the main road of Causeway Bay on August 31. Photo: Wang Wenwen/GT

The consecutive moves on Wednesday by US congressional committees to approve Hong Kong and Taiwan acts are blatant interference in China's domestic affairs and should be viewed against the backdrop of overall China-US confrontation, Chinese analysts warned on Thursday.

Both House and Senate committees approved the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, paving the way for the bill to become law amid months of social unrest in the Chinese city.

The bill, if passed, would sanction Chinese officials found "suppressing Hong Kong's democracy, human rights or citizen freedoms" by freezing their assets in the US and denying them entry to the US.

Also on Wednesday, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, or TAIPEI Act, which, if passed, would require the US State Department to induce governments that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan to maintain the ties and support Taiwan in joining international organizations.

The US move came after the Solomon Islands and Kiribati cut their ties with Taiwan. The Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations with China on September 21.

China's Foreign Ministry Wednesday expressed anger and firm opposition to the US approval of the Hong Kong bill. 

Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, noted that the protests sweeping across Hong Kong, once triggered by an extradition bill, have changed in essence. 

Incited by external force and Hong Kong's secessionist forces, radical groups and rioters have wantonly damaged public facilities and attacked the police, and have gone far beyond what is allowed in normal demonstrations and protests, Geng said.

The US houses have turned a blind eye to such maleficence and lent a helping hand to these radical forces and rioters, Geng said, which exposed "the evil purpose of certain US politicians to destabilize Hong Kong and contain China's development."

Geng also slammed passage of the TAIPEI act on Thursday, which he said was a serious breach of the one-China principle, the three China-US joint communiqués and basic norms governing international relations, and interferes in China's internal affairs.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council on Thursday strongly condemned and firmly opposed the approval of the Hong Kong-related bill. The bill was blatant interference in China's internal affairs and a trampling of international law and the principles of international relations, the office said.

"We urge the US Congress and certain politicians to stop their meddling in matters that will hurt China-US ties," a spokesperson was quoted as saying on the office's website.

Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for US Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times the US has been engaged in Taiwan affairs for years, and the chaos in Hong Kong is providing the US with new leverage to pressure China.

Besides the two bills on Hong Kong and Taiwan, another bill, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which appeals for the Trump administration to consider sanctions against Chinese officials over so-called "internment camps," was passed by the US Senate on September 11. A Beijing law expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that by passing different bills that all relate to China, the US is playing the China card in multiple dimensions. 

"All these bills should be viewed against the backdrop of the overall China-US confrontation and the trade war," the expert said.

Foreign interference

Experts noted that over the past three months, Hong Kong protesters have relentlessly resorted to foreign support. 

Some protesters waved the national flags of the US, the UK and even Germany as a means to appeal to Western countries for help. 

During a protest on September 8, some called for US support outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, waving US flags and shouting slogans in English.

In early August, Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law met Julie Eadeh, a political unit chief of the US consulate in a Hong Kong hotel lobby. Wong claimed their discussion focused on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

Last week US politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Jim McGovern met Wong and Denise Ho, a singer-actress activist, and invited them to testify at a Hong Kong-related hearing. 

Witman Hung Wai-man, principal liaison officer for Hong Kong at the Shenzhen Qianhai Authority, called the activists' move to drum up US support "absurd."

"International politics is all about interests. By offering such 'support,' the US does not take Hong Kong people's interests into consideration," Hung said.

"Meanwhile, begging for such intervention from the US will only set Hong Kong people in peril."

Xin Qiang from Fudan University noted that a dangerous sign was that Taiwan and Hong Kong secessionists were colluding, each with US backing. 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the Hong Kong government have undertaken a slew of measures to cool the social unrest that has engulfed the city since June. 

They include relief measures totaling more than HK$19 billion ($2.4 billion), with policies targeting small and medium-sized enterprises, students and low-income families.