China, pro-Beijing activists condemn ‘meddling’ in Hong Kong

An employee removes stickers and posters with messages in support of the pro-democracy movement at a restaurant in Hong Kong yesterday

China’s government and pro-Beijing activists in Hong Kong condemned what they called foreign meddling in the territory’s affairs yesterday, as countries moved to offer Hong Kongers refuge and impose sanctions on China over a new security law.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said no amount of pressure from external forces could “shake China’s determination and will to safeguard national sovereignty and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”
Meanwhile, dozens of pro-Beijing activists and lawmakers protested outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong to demand that the U.S. stop meddling. The group said it gathered 1.6 million signatures online in support of its call.
Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said on public broadcaster RTHK yesterday that the new security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong was not harsh. If it were, no one would dare violate the law, he said.
His comments came a day after thousands of protesters marched against the security law, which took effect in Hong Kong late Tuesday.
The security law outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, as well as any collusion with foreign forces in intervening in the city’s affairs. Critics say the law effectively ends the “one country, two systems” framework under which the city was promised a high degree of autonomy when it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
The maximum punishment for serious offenses under the legislation is life imprisonment, and suspects in certain cases may be sent to stand trial on the mainland if Beijing deems that it has jurisdiction.
The law takes aim at actions that occurred during anti-government protests last year. It says destruction of government facilities and utilities would be considered subversive, while damaging public transportation facilities and arson would constitute acts of terrorism.
About 370 people were arrested during and after Wednesday’s protests, including 10 on suspicion of violating the new security law. Some of those arrested allegedly possessed materials that advocated Hong Kong’s independence.
Hong Kong police arrested a man on a London-bound flight early yesterday on suspicion of having stabbed a police officer in the arm during Wednesday’s protests.
The 24-year-old man, surnamed Wong, was arrested on a Cathay Pacific flight after police received an anonymous tip-off about his travel plans, police said.
Wong had purchased a ticket on Wednesday and boarded the flight with no check-in luggage, police said.
Meanwhile, two protesters were sentenced to four weeks in jail yesterday for vandalizing a ticketing machine at a rail station in September last year.
The central government’s passage of the security law for Hong Kong has triggered concern from the territory’s former colonial ruler, Britain, and other countries.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that imposition of the law was a “clear and serious breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The Foreign Office summoned Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming to a meeting with Permanent Secretary Simon McDonald, who reiterated Britain’s concern.
Yesterday, the Chinese Embassy in London said such a move would be in breach of “international law and basic norms governing international relations.”
“We firmly oppose this and reserve the right to take corresponding measures,” it said in a statement, without elaborating. “We urge the British side to view objectively and fairly the national security legislation for Hong Kong, respect China’s position and concerns.” AP

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