Envoy denies China requested to amend fugitive law

Top News | Agencies and Jane Cheung 14 Jun 2019

The mainland's ambassador to Britain says Beijing has never given the Hong Kong government any instruction or order to amend the fugitive law.

Liu Xiaoming, the first Beijing official to public dismiss the allegations, told Mark Urban of British broadcaster BBC that "the whole story has been distorted."

Asked who was distorting it, Liu said: "The media, including BBC, I think."

He added: "You portrayed the story as the Hong Kong government making this amendment at the instruction of the central government. As a matter of fact, the central government gave no instruction, no order about making amendment.

"This amendment was initiated by the Hong Kong government. It is prompted by a murder case happened in Taiwan.

"This case is about rectifying the deficiencies, plugging the loopholes of the existing legal system."

Asked if he would advice the Hong Kong government to drop the bill, given how controversial it is, Liu said: "Why should we ask them to drop it?"

US President Donald Trump weighed in on the matter, saying he was impressed with the number of protesters who took to the streets and called it as big a demonstration as he had ever seen. But he avoided picking a side.

Trump said he understood the reason for the demonstration, adding: "I hope it all works out for China and for Hong Kong."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, condemned the violence during the protest and said the central government will support the Hong Kong government in tracking down lawbreakers.

Spokesman Geng Shuang said Hong Kong officials have branded the protest as a well-planned and coordinated riot.

"Any action that would damage the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong is against the mainstream public opinion," he said. "Any civilized society would not tolerate illegal actions that would destroy the peace."

Asked about his response to Trump's remarks, Geng said Hong Kong matters are China's internal affairs and the central government opposes any form of foreign intervention.

He called for the US and European Union to look at the bill through a fair lens.

Geng also did not answer questions on whether President Xi Jinping and Trump would meet at the G20 summit in Osaka at the end of the month.

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