Even as thousands of protesters clashed with police in Hong Kong late into Wednesday night over a controversial extradition bill, the Chinese government stressed here that Hong Kong’s affairs is “purely China’s internal affairs” and “no country, organisation or individual has the right to intervene in them.”
At the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang also said: “The rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents are fully protected in accordance with the law. Various international institutions have said Hong Kong has one of the most free economies in the world and it is one of the most (economically) competitive regions in the world.”
Geng responded to a question on the US expressing concerns about amendments to the extradition bill and said that since the reunification of Hong Kong, the principles of “one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” has been effectively implemented. “Any action that undermines Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is opposed by Hong Kong’s mainstream public opinion,” he said.
“The central government will continue to firmly support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in promoting the revision of regulations. At the same time, I would like to point out that since the reunification of Hong Kong, the principles of “ one country, two systems” and “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” has been effectively implemented,” he said.
“I want to stress once again that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. No country, organization or individual has the right to intervene in them. The US has made irresponsible and erroneous remarks on the HK SAR’s amendments and the Chinese side has expressed strong dissatisfaction (of such comments) and we resolute oppose interference in Hong Kong affairs,” he added.
Geng also said that the US should treat the Hong Kong SAR Government “objectively and impartially in accordance with the law”, and “be cautious and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any form.”
Information on protests in Hong Kong was heavily censored in mainland China including on microblogging site Weibo. While Chinese news agency Xinhua did not carry details on Hong Kong, a report on Taiwan stressed the “Chinese mainland has unwavering resolve to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity” and will “not tolerate separatist elements advocating “Taiwan independence”.
An Fengshan, spokesperson with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference said: “Sharing the bonds of kinship and a community of shared future with Taiwan, we will work with the utmost sincerity and greatest efforts for the prospect of peaceful reunification.”
An opinion piece in the Chinese state-run tabloid The Global Times warned Hongkongers to “keep a clear mind” so they won’t be “fooled by Western political elites or trapped in Western-style political game.” The piece also praised Hong Kong’s “capitalist character” and asked if there was anyone on the Chinese mainland who wishes Hong Kong lose its capitalist character and become more like a mainland city.
“It cannot be said there is no one who so desires,” it stated. “Most people on the mainland hope Hong Kong will stick to the “one country, two systems” policy, maintains its unique social landscape based on capitalism, because that is what makes Hong Kong interesting and worthy of visiting.”
It also warned that political confrontations in “non-Western societies often “goes to extremes and hits a dead-end, affecting social governance mechanisms and even leading to tragedies. Hong Kong must not learn from them,” it stated in reference to Western societies.
“Since Hong Kong has adopted capitalism, it is normal to see Western-style symptoms. But Hong Kong should know how far to go and when to stop. Observers from the Chinese mainland sometimes go breathless with anxiety to see certain forces in Hong Kong addicted to political games and almost creating turmoil,” it stated.