By Yew Lun Tian
BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Friday listed more than 100 instances of what it said was U.S. interference in Hong Kong affairs, including President Joe Biden’s show of support for a pro-democracy newspaper.
U.S. officials, politicians, and representatives have denounced China for its tightening control on the former British colony Hong Kong. They also condemned the imposition of an expansive national security law in 2017 that cracked down against dissent.
At a Friday press conference, Zhao Lijian from the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated that “The United States cannot tolerate any force which is anti-China or stirs trouble in Hong Kong.”
On its website, the ministry listed instances where the U.S. has interfered since 2019. This included the signing by the then-President Donald Trump of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.
Trump directed the end of Hong Kong’s special status as a U.S. territory to sanction China for “oppressive acts” against it. The financial center returned to Chinese control in 1997 under Chinese guarantee.
China criticized Biden for calling Hong Kong’s closure of Apple Daily (NASDAQ) newspaper “a sad moment for media freedom” that was a result of Beijing’s “intensified repression”.
The Apple Daily was a pro-democracy tabloid that Jimmy Lai founded. He is currently in prison and facing trial for national security charges. In June 17, 500 police raided the headquarters of the newspaper and took away key assets and bank accounts.
The authorities claim that dozens of articles from the newspaper may have been in violation of the national security law. Critics say this was used to suppress free speech and undermine other fundamental freedoms protected by the “Basic Law” miniature-constitution.
Officials from Hong Kong and China deny this charge. They claim that the law restored order in Hong Kong, which has been the victim of months-long violent anti-China protests and pro-democracy demonstrations.
Others named by the U.S. include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (then-Secretary to State Mike Pompeo) and Anthony Blinken (his successor).
The foreign ministry didn’t explain the reasons for the release of the list or whether they would pursue punitive measures against anyone on the list.
China adopted an anti-foreign-sanctions law in June that could see those who are involved in discriminatory acts against Chinese citizens or entities be added to a list of mainland-based anti-sanctions.
They could be deported or denied entry to China. Your assets may then be confiscated or frozen in China.
Biden provided temporary “safety” in America last month to Hong Kong residents, which allowed thousands to stay longer in light of Beijing’s “assault on Hong Kong autonomy”.
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