The US Consulate in Hong Kong stated that it was ludicrous to imply that its diplomats meeting with pro-democracy politicians would infringe the city’s latest national security law, a accusation posed in a recent state media article in China.
Chinese state-owned tabloid Global Times ran a story earlier this week suggesting a recent meeting between US Consul General Hanscom Smith and a pro-democracy politician could violate the new legislation.
At the end of June, Beijing placed a new national security law on Hong Kong aiming for subversion, rebellion, insurgency and collaboration with foreign powers. The U.S. consulate said in a statement on Friday its diplomats met with a variety of political figures including pro-establishment politicians and pro-democracy opponents.
These meetings are neither mysterious nor confidential. The idea that anyone who communicate with members of the consulate should participate in ‘collusion’ is absurd. The security law has been a direct response by Beijing to months of massive and often violent pro-democracy protests that erupted last year in Hong Kong.
Millions took to the streets demanding transparency from the police and the right to elect Hong Kong leaders. Beijing has dismissed the campaign, describing it as a conspiracy to overthrow China by international powers.
Bans on people advocating or endorsing international sanctions or promoting distrust of China are included in the narrowly worded security legislation.It sent a political chill through Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous city that allegedly guaranteed certain unseen freedoms on the Chinese mainland, as well as 50 years of autonomy after Britain’s 1997 city handover.