Beijing backs HK government, opposes 'foreign interference'

VIDEO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China yesterday strongly backed the Hong Kong government on a controversial Bill that would allow extraditions to the mainland and voiced opposition to "outside interference", following a massive protest against the legislation.

Beijing was unmoved by the protest, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying that it will continue to firmly support the Hong Kong administration.

"Second, we firmly oppose any outside interference in the le-gislative affairs" of the city, he said at a regular news briefing, adding that "some countries have made some irresponsible remarks about the amendment".

Chinese state-run media had earlier slammed the Hong Kong protest organisers for "collusion with the West", and pointed to meetings between Hong Kong opposition figures and senior United States officials.

The Chinese-language edition of the nationalistic Global Times dismissed Sunday's mass demonstration, one of the biggest shows of public anger since Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

"It is very noteworthy that some international forces have significantly strengthened their interaction with the Hong Kong opposition in recent months," the newspaper said, describing the exchanges as "collusion".

The editorial pointed to meetings between Hong Kong opposition figures and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

 
 
 
 

The English-language China Daily said in an editorial that more than 700,000 people had backed the legislation through an online petition, "countering a protest by about 240,000 people" - the more conservative attendance figure given by the police.

"Unfortunately, some Hong Kong residents have been hoodwinked by the opposition camp and their foreign allies into supporting the anti-extradition campaign," said the state-run paper.

Mr Geng also pointed to the petition in support of the Bill.

Coverage of the protest was muted in China, with the state broadcaster ignoring the protest on Sunday's main evening news.

The official Xinhua news agency's English-language service repeated the city administration's position on the law "in response to a public procession".

Searches for the demonstration on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform yielded no results, and instead showed older content about unrelated events.

A student in China said his WeChat social media account was suspended for two days after he posted a picture of the protest in a three-person group chat.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2019, with the headline 'Beijing backs HK government, opposes 'foreign interference''. Print Edition | Subscribe