Hong Kong's Carrie Lam Slams US Legislation as Outright Interference

Clay Curtis
December 6, 2019

Chinese officials have expressed anger about U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to sign legislation backing Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrators, but experts said Monday Beijing nor Washington is likely to take any concrete action, especially since trade negotiations are dragging on.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that USA -headquartered NGOs including Freedom House and Human Rights Watch "should be punished and pay the price" for supporting "extremist and violent criminal acts" in Hong Kong.

They displayed a banner that read "Condemn U.S. hegemony invading Hong Kong and interfering in China's internal affairs".

"We have a high degree of freedom in many aspects", she said ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, as she mistakenly referred the law as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Freedom Act.

Along with suspending visits by U.S. military ships and aircraft, Ms Hua said China would sanction organisations, including the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute, Freedom House and others, that had "performed badly" in the Hong Kong unrest. If ever found unsatisfactory, the city's special status for USA trading could be tossed.

Au and Chu want to slash the maximum sentences for rioting, now 10 years' imprisonment, and unlawful assembly, now at five years, to three years and six months, respectively. At the time, 1,300 people had been arrested.

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"The impact now is on confidence", Lam said. The organization says that it has worked to uphold democracy and human rights for 78 years across the globe.

Lam has renewed her appeals for peace but - though it withdrew in September the extradition bill that sparked the first demonstrations - her administration has failed to offer any further concessions to the protest movement despite the election results. The event was originally approved by police but was made illegal twenty minutes before the scheduled end time.

"If such people are then charged, this will only lead to more injustice", he said. Beijing blames foreign countries including the United States for inciting unrest.

"This bill is an important litmus test of whether the government is going to use this outdated weapon on the general public", Chu said.

Hua also announced that Beijing will impose sanctions on several human rights organizations of non-US government which has been monitoring and reporting on protests in Hong Kong. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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