China summons US ambassador to protest Hong Kong legislation

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — China’s Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Terry Branstad on Monday to protest against the passage of Hong Kong’s Human Rights and Democracy Act to Congress, saying the move amounted to interference in China’s internal affairs.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Ziguang urged the United States to “correct its mistakes and stop interfering in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs,” the ministry said in a notice posted on its website.

Opponents of the government have been demonstrating in the streets of Hong Kong for six months amid growing violence and fears that China will step up its response to stop civil disobedience.

The US House of Representatives sent two bills on Hong Kong to the White House on Wednesday after it voted almost unanimously for them. The Senate unanimously passed the previous day.

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bills despite sensitive trade talks with Beijing.

The passage of the Human Rights and Democracy Law is an encouragement to violence and a serious violation of international law and basic norms of international relations, Zheng said.

“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition,” he was quoted as saying.

A US embassy spokesman said Branstad had told Cheng that the United States was following the events in Hong Kong “with great concern”.

“I make clear that we condemn all forms of violence and intimidation. The ambassador added that the United States believes that the best service to communities occurs when there is a representation of different political views in truly free and fair elections.

A US State Department spokeswoman said earlier that Hong Kong’s self-rule, its commitment to the rule of law and the protection of civil liberties were “essential to maintaining its own status under US law.”

“As the US government has repeatedly said, the CPC should keep its promises to the people of Hong Kong who want only the freedoms promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the spokeswoman said.

The 1984 joint declaration was an agreement on terms under which Britain returned Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, and included a pledge to give Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years.

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