Central authorities and the Hong Kong community have lambasted the top United States diplomat in Hong Kong for making “biased” and “untruthful” allegations against Hong Kong’s development and the “one country, two systems” principle.
Their comments came after US Consul General Hanscom Smith delivered his “farewell remarks” to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong on Monday, claiming that Hong Kong has experienced undermining of autonomy and “repression”.
Speaking on Tuesday at a news conference in Beijing, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, expressed strong disapproval of Smith’s remarks, saying that they smeared the political and economic environment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Since the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, the city has successfully returned to the right track, and the lawful rights of all residents have been better protected, Wang said.
The spokesman urged all foreign consulates in Hong Kong to respect the laws of the SAR, as well as international law and basic norms governing international relations.
In a separate statement on Monday, a spokesperson for the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in the Hong Kong SAR pointed out that US interference in Hong Kong’s affairs shows its ulterior motive is to undermine the city’s prosperity and stability and contain China’s growth.
“One country, two systems” has been a universally recognized success that conforms to the fundamental interests of the country and the Chinese nation, serves the fundamental interests of Hong Kong, and has the full support of the more than 1.4 billion people in the motherland, the spokesperson said in the statement. The city’s freedom, openness and favorable business environment have ranked among the top in the world, the spokesperson said.
The Hong Kong SAR government also slammed the unfair claims of Smith, saying that improving the electoral system, ensuring “patriots administering Hong Kong” and safeguarding the overall interests of society are conducive to the stable development of Hong Kong’s democracy.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said Smith’s remarks are “a piece of hostile political propaganda” that stemmed from rising US-China tensions.
Lau said that the biased accusation shows Smith’s limited understanding of “one country, two systems”, under which Hong Kong is not an independent political entity and should not become a threat to national security.
Such a one-sided and unfair portrayal of Hong Kong will not affect Hong Kong residents’ views of their city, but will instead fuel Hong Kong residents’ suspicion of US intentions regarding the affairs of the SAR and China, Lau said.
Recently, the White House announced the extension of its “national emergency declaration “over Hong Kong’s situation, as well as unilateral sanctions against the city.
On Tuesday, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong SAR expressed strong objection to the move, saying that the US sanctions have no future and playing the “Hong Kong card” to contain China will fail.