HONG KONG – China’s authorities and pro-Beijing activists in Hong Kong condemned what they known as international meddling within the territory’s affairs on Thursday, as nations moved to supply Hong Kongers refuge and impose sanctions on China over a brand new safety legislation.
Chinese international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian mentioned no quantity of stress from exterior forces may “shake China’s dedication and can to safeguard nationwide sovereignty and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”
He urged the U.S. to abide by worldwide legislation and cease interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, and never signal a sanction invoice into legislation.
His feedback got here after the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday joined the Senate in approving a invoice to rebuke China over its crackdown in Hong Kong by imposing sanctions on teams that undermine town’s autonomy or limit freedoms promised to its residents.
If the invoice turns into legislation, “China will certainly take robust countermeasures, and all penalties can be borne by the U.S. facet,” Zhao mentioned at a each day briefing.
Meanwhile, dozens of pro-Beijing activists and lawmakers protested exterior the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong to demand that the U.S. cease meddling. The group mentioned it gathered 1.6 million signatures on-line in help of its name.
Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, mentioned on public broadcaster RTHK on Thursday that the brand new safety legislation imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong was not harsh. If it have been, nobody would dare violate the legislation, he mentioned.
His feedback got here a day after hundreds of protesters marched towards the safety legislation, which took impact in Hong Kong late Tuesday.
The safety legislation outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, in addition to any collusion with international forces in intervening within the metropolis’s affairs. Critics say the legislation successfully ends the “one nation, two methods” framework beneath which town was promised a excessive diploma of autonomy when it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
The most punishment for severe offenses beneath the laws is life imprisonment, and suspects in sure circumstances could also be despatched to face trial on the mainland if Beijing deems that it has jurisdiction.
The legislation takes goal at actions that occurred throughout anti-government protests final 12 months. It says destruction of presidency services and utilities can be thought-about subversive, whereas damaging public transportation services and arson would represent acts of terrorism.
About 370 individuals have been arrested throughout and after Wednesday’s protests, together with 10 on suspicion of violating the brand new safety legislation. Some of these arrested allegedly possessed supplies that advocated Hong Kong’s independence.
Hong Kong police arrested a person on a London-bound flight early Thursday on suspicion of getting stabbed a police officer within the arm throughout Wednesday’s protests.
The 24-year-old man, surnamed Wong, was arrested on a Cathay Pacific flight after police obtained an nameless tip-off about his journey plans, police mentioned.
Wong had bought a ticket on Wednesday and boarded the flight with no check-in baggage, police mentioned. He didn’t reply to the crew after they known as him by identify, and was not in his designated seat. Police recognized him after conducting a sweep of the airplane.
Meanwhile, two protesters have been sentenced to 4 weeks in jail on Thursday for vandalizing a ticketing machine at a rail station in September final 12 months. They have been amongst almost 9,000 arrests by police in reference to the anti-government protests between final June and May this 12 months.
The central authorities’s passage of the safety legislation for Hong Kong has triggered concern from the territory’s former colonial ruler, Britain, and different nations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned Wednesday that imposition of the legislation was a “clear and severe breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the treaty that assured the previous British colony would get pleasure from a excessive diploma of autonomy and civil liberties for not less than 50 years after its handover to Chinese rule.
The Foreign Office summoned Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming on Wednesday to a gathering with Permanent Secretary Simon McDonald, who reiterated Britain’s concern. Britain additionally introduced that it’s extending residency rights for as much as three million Hong Kongers eligible for British National Overseas passports, stressing that it could uphold its historic obligation to its former colony. Those eligible will have the ability to reside and work within the U.Ok. for 5 years earlier than making use of for settled standing after which once more for citizenship.
On Thursday, the Chinese Embassy in London mentioned such a transfer can be in breach of “worldwide legislation and fundamental norms governing worldwide relations.”
“We firmly oppose this and reserve the best to take corresponding measures,” it mentioned in an announcement, with out elaborating. “We urge the British facet to view objectively and pretty the nationwide safety laws for Hong Kong, respect China’s place and considerations, chorus from interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any manner.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison mentioned Thursday his authorities is contemplating a transfer to offer a “secure haven” to Hong Kongers, and Taiwan opened an workplace to assist Hong Kongers transfer to Taiwan for employment and different functions.