Hong Kong government officials have criticized US President Donald Trump for moving to strip the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of its special rights status.
In an attempt to punish China for introducing a new security law for Hong Kong, Trump said on Saturday that the city no longer warranted economic privileges and some of the territory’s officials could face US sanctions.
Trump claimed the new legislation would decrease the level of autonomy in Hong Kong, and threatened to impose sanctions on Hong Kong government officials who supported the law.
Hong Kong’s Justice Minister Teresa Cheng said hours later that the premise for Trump’s move was “completely false and wrong.” Cheng also said Trump was infringing the principle of non-interference, arguing that stripping the government of its special status amounted to meddling in China’s internal affairs.
Separately, Security Minister John Lee told reporters that Hong Kong’s government could not be threatened and would push ahead with the new law.
“I don’t think they will succeed in using any means to threaten the (Hong Kong) government, because we believe what we are doing is right,” Lee said, referring to the American officials.
Chinese state media also lashed out at the US president for his decision regarding Hong Kong.
China Daily said on Sunday that Trump’s decision would hurt the United States and strengthen the bond between Hong Kong and mainland China.
The state-run Global Times tabloid also wrote that the US would run afoul of Hong Kong’s citizens.
“China has already prepared for the worst. No matter how far the US goes, China will keep its company. If Trump’s plan continues, Washington will soon run counter to the interests of most Hong Kong people,” Global Times wrote.
North Korea backs China’s decision
Meanwhile, North Korea said it supported China’s decision to tighten security with its new legislation, calling it a “legitimate step” to safeguard state security.
“Since Hong Kong issue is an issue pertaining thoroughly to the internal affairs of China, any country or force has no rights to say this or that about the issue,” North Korea’s KCNA state news agency cited a representative of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry as saying.
“We categorically oppose and reject the outside interference detrimental to the security and the social and economic development of Hong Kong,” it said.
Hong Kong has witnessed protests over the security law as a lockdown imposed over the coronavirus outbreak gradually loosens in the city.
The law was recently passed by the National People’s Congress (NPC). It aims to boost security measures and safeguard national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) after violent protests rocked the region for months last year.
Hong Kong’s legislature debated and passed the Beijing-proposed bill on Wednesday.
It is expected to criminalize sedition, secession, and subversion against the mainland. It would further pave the way for Chinese national security institutions to operate in the city for the first time since 1997, when Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule.
Beijing and Hong Kong officials have assured the people in the region that the security law will only target a small group of trouble-makers who undermine the business hub’s stability.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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