Intervention inviting Beijing reprisal

Top News | Angel Kwan 18 Sep 2019

The pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has warned that China will hit back if the US Congress passes the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

Starry Lee Wai-king and Holden Chow Ho-ding, the party's top officials, yesterday told US consul-general Hanscom Smith they disagreed with Washington's intervention in Hong Kong's internal affairs through domestic legislation.

"It is inappropriate and not common practice in international society," Lee said.

She said she believes Beijing or the Hong Kong government would pursue countermeasures if the bill is passed.

Chow urged the United States to reconsider the bill, stressing that it will also cause harm to American interests.

They said the US consul-general has promised to pass their opinions to his government and congressmen.

Lee said: "The intended pressure and the underlying intention of proposing or 'passing' the act appear to serve to intimidate, influence and interfere with other government officials' addressing of their domestic unrest.

"It is ungrounded and unreasonable and, undoubtedly, will be met by the strongest objections from the governments - possibly with countermeasures."

Both Beijing and Hong Kong government were "rather passive" in response to protesters by withdrawing the extradition bill, Lee said.

On the alleged excessive use of force by police, Lee said there was "indisputably the fact that no police constable actively or out of their own volition, fired any lethal or real bullet or any explosives other than tear gas."

Protesters have been urging the US Congress to pass the bill, which would require Washington to assess Hong Kong's level of political autonomy annually to determine whether the SAR should continue to have a special trade status separate from that of China. It could also impose sanctions on officials who infringe on freedoms in the city.

The bill was introduced to the US Congress on June 13. Thirteen senators and representatives co-sponsored the bill but that number has risen to 43 by this month.

Earlier, Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed "strong regret" over the bill.

Social activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Denise Ho Wan-see spoke at a US congressional commission hearing on the developments in Hong Kong.

Another bill - sponsored by congressmen Christopher Smith (Republican) and Rohit Khanna (Democrat) that proposes to place restrictions on tear gas exports and crowd-control technology to Hong Kong - has gained eight co-sponsors in the US Congress.

angel.kwan@singtaonewscorp.com

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