China slams 'gross interference' by West in Hong Kong protests

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 03.07.2019 00:15

China has condemned the "gross interference" by other countries in Hong Kong while expressing "strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition" to statements made by the U.S., Britain and the EU in support of the Hong Kong protesters. "When large-scale demonstrations took place in your country, police did not hesitate to dispatch explosion-proof vehicles, high-pressure water [cannons], batons, tear gas, rubber bullets... but why are you so tolerant of violent criminals in Hong Kong?" the statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry's office in Hong Kong said.

China believes other countries are using human rights as a "false veil" for interference in China and Hong Kong's internal affairs and urges foreign governments to "immediately stop their wrong words and deeds."

Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous financial hub, has been thrown into crisis by weeks of massive demonstrations over a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland. But on Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover to China, anger spilled over as groups of mostly young, hard-line protesters, broke into the legislative council where they hung Hong Kong's colonial-era flag and left anti-Beijing graffiti.

"These serious illegal actions trample on the rule of law in Hong Kong, undermine Hong Kong's social order and harm the fundamental interests of Hong Kong," the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, said in a statement by an unnamed spokesperson.

"It is a blatant challenge to the ‘one country, two systems' bottom line. We express our vehement condemnation against this," the spokesperson said.

China's central government condemned yesterday the ransacking of Hong Kong's legislature and said it backed the city authorities to investigate the "criminal responsibility of violent offenders." Under the terms of the 1997 handover between colonial power Britain to China, Hong Kong is to be governed under its own laws with special rights including freedom of speech and an independent judiciary until 2047. The statement said Beijing strongly supports Hong Kong's government and the police.

Surveying damage to the building yesterday morning, Legislative Council President Andrew Leung said the previous night's violence had undermined "the core values of Hong Kong." He said police were collecting evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

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