KONFRONTASI - China has denounced as “irresponsible and erroneous” the US comments about a proposed amendment to a Hong Kong law that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China to face trial.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks during a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday and called on the United States to stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs.
“We demand that the US side…be cautious and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in any form,” Geng said.
The Chinese official’s comments came in response to a US warning on Monday that the amendment allowing criminal extradition to mainland China could undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and negatively impact the territory’s longstanding human rights and democratic values.
The US State Department claimed that Washington was “gravely concerned” about the extradition bill.
Moreover, the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) lashed out at Washington’s meddlesome comments, saying they “deplore and firmly oppose the US disregard of international law and the basic norms governing international relations and its interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s domestic affairs."
The bill has for several times generated broad opposition and mass protests in Hong Kong.
Under the policy, Hong Kong would have the right to order the extradition of wanted offenders to China, Macau, and Taiwan as well as other countries not covered by Hong Kong's existing extradition treaties.
Opponents fear the measure will allow China to target political opponents in the region.
The bill is due for a second round of debate on Wednesday in the city's 70-seat legislature.
Hong Kong was reunited with China under a deal between Britain and China in 1997, but it was decided that the territory should continue to enjoy its freedoms, including a separate legal system. China says that those privileges have been protected but insists it could not tolerate movements that seek full independence from the mainland.[PTV]