New US envoy to Hong Kong vows to push for democracy
HONG KONG (Reuters) - The new United States envoy to Hong Kong insisted on Tuesday that Washington would not be silenced by China in calling for democracy in the global financial hub, vowing to continue speaking out for core rights and freedoms.
US Consul-General Clifford Hart's first public speech in the former British colony came amid rising political and diplomatic tensions that have included formal warnings from China that Western nations must not meddle in the city's politics.
Mr Hart has already been targeted, with Beijing's top Hong Kong-based Foreign Ministry representative Song Zhe warning him against interference, while Communist Party-backed newspapers rail against his "subversive" activities.
"The US position on genuine universal suffrage is unchanged... We'll continue to speak out on it," said the career diplomat, who has served in China, Russia, Iraq and in the Pentagon.