China tells US not to meddle in Hong Kong affairs after Washington bashes Beijing in new report

A Chinese national flag and a Hong Kong flag © Bobby Yip
China has slammed a recent US Congressional report accusing Beijing of interfering in Hong Kong as “irresponsible,” while strongly objecting “to any foreign institutions intervening” in what it insists “are purely China’s internal affairs.”

The US report “inappropriately commented [on] and smeared” the Chinese government’s policies towards Hong Kong, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry commissioner’s office in Hong Kong said, as cited by the South China Morning Post newspaper. 

“The Chinese government is strongly discontent with the irresponsible comments made by the US,” he said, adding that the ‘one country, two systems’ rule giving the city a high degree of autonomy has been followed since 1997 when Hong Kong was handed back to China.

With a population of 7.3 million people, Hong Kong maintains independent executive, legislative, and judiciary powers, except for those concerning military and foreign affairs.

“Hong Kong’s matters are purely China’s internal affairs. We strongly object to any foreign institutions criticizing and intervening in Hong Kong’s matters in any way,” the spokesman said.

On Wednesday, a report from the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned of a rise in China’s interference in Hong Kong.

“Beijing is seeking to leverage Hong Kong’s status as a leading global financial hub to facilitate the Mainland’s economic priorities,” it stated.

The report also criticized the arrest of Hong Kong booksellers who were reportedly involved in printing and selling gossipy political titles banned in China.

“Congress express that China’s apparent abduction and detention of five Hong Kong and foreign national booksellers based in Hong Kong for selling banned books to customers in mainland China violates its commitments to maintaining a ‘high degree of autonomy’ in Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” the report added.

The report states that Beijing “disregards norms, agreements, or laws (either in spirit or in letter) in pursuit of its objectives.”

“Many in the Hong Kong business community, including US-based and global firms, are beginning to question Hong Kong’s future as a global financial center due to the apparent threat to rule of law,” it reads.

The report also warned that the country’s rapidly growing military may pose a threat to US security, while urging Congress to assess whether America’s involvement in the region diminishes its own military capabilities.

“The military capabilities China is developing will expand or improve the ability of the People’s Liberation Army to conduct a range of externally focused operations [and] strengthen China’s traditional war-fighting capabilities against weaker neighbors,” the report stated.