HKSAR government condemns US Congress for meddling in Hong Kong affairs
Published: Nov 30, 2023 04:14 PM
Photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square in south China's Hong Kong. Photo:Xinhua

Photo taken on July 14, 2020 shows the Golden Bauhinia Square in south China's Hong Kong. Photo:Xinhua

The government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong on Thursday strongly condemned the US House Foreign Affairs Committee for passing the so-called Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act, urging the US to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs.

The House on Wednesday (US time) passed the legislation targeting Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (ETOs). The act "would require the White House to 'remove the extension of certain privileges, exemptions and immunities' to the offices," the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday.

The HKSAR said that the act is factually wrong. The act aims to achieve political objectives by smearing and attacking the work of Hong Kong ETOs in the US in terms of promoting mutually beneficial economic and trade relations, and cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and the US, and misleadingly promoting the removal of those privileges, exemptions and immunities and even the closure of the ETOs. 

The HKSAR government strongly condemned any attempts to damage bilateral trade relations out of individuals' political interests, and sternly urged the US not to violate the basic norms governing international relations and to stop political smears and attacks against the HKSAR and interfering in Hong Kong matters.

In response to the US intervention in Hong Kong affairs and in China's internal affairs, the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong on Thursday issued a strong condemnation and expressed resolute opposition, urging the US to immediately stop pushing forward the relevant bill.

"The US act is a refusal to recognize the Hong Kong ETOs as representing the HKSAR government, as well as an attempt to discredit and smear the Hong Kong National Security Law, which is unjustified," He Weiwen, senior fellow of the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The smooth operation of the three ETOs in Washington DC, New York and San Francisco contributes to strengthening cooperation between the HKSAR and the US in different areas such as trade, investment and arts and culture, and is mutually beneficial to both places, the HKSAR government said.

The US has enjoyed a significant economic dividend through trade ties with Hong Kong, recording a trade surplus of $284.9 billion with Hong Kong in the past 10 years, the largest among its global trading partners. 

If the US insists on undermining these mutually beneficial relations through legislation like the act, it will ultimately harm the interests of the US and its companies, read the HKSAR's statement. 

If the act is implemented, it will jeopardize economic and trade relations between the HKSAR and the US, and will also hurt the US financial industry, leading to gaps in the global system of the US financial sector, as Hong Kong is an internationally renowned financial center, He said. 

More than 1,200 US enterprises have invested and operated businesses in Hong Kong, and most major US financial institutions operate there. 

The US business community remains optimistic about the prospects of Hong Kong's growth and opportunities in the Greater Bay Area comprising South China's Guangdong Province and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao. 

However, a small number of US politicians are politicizing and instrumentalizing economic and trade issues. What they are doing is against the people's will, and is destined to fail, the Commissioner's Office said. 

China will not sit idly by while the US concocts bills related to Hong Kong, which are detrimental to Hong Kong and interfere in China's internal affairs, and it will resolutely defend its own rights and interests. The US is urged to return to the right path of promoting mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US through practical actions, and give up any intention of suppressing China and "curbing China with Hong Kong," the office stated.