China slams G-7 statement over Hong Kong autonomy

G-7 leaders meeting in France had backed Hong Kong's autonomy as laid out in a 1984 agreement between Britain and China, and called for calm in the protest-hit city.
G-7 leaders meeting in France had backed Hong Kong's autonomy as laid out in a 1984 agreement between Britain and China, and called for calm in the protest-hit city.PHOTO: AP

BEIJING • China has voiced "strong dissatisfaction" with a joint statement issued by the Group of Seven leaders, who backed Hong Kong's autonomy and called for calm after months of civil unrest.

G-7 leaders meeting in France on Monday backed Hong Kong's autonomy as laid out in a 1984 agreement between Britain and China, and called for calm in the protest-hit city.

But Beijing has accused foreign governments of interfering over Hong Kong, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the G-7 was "meddling" and "harbouring evil intentions".

"We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the statement made by the leaders of the G-7 summit on Hong Kong affairs," said Mr Geng at a press briefing in Beijing yesterday.

"We have repeatedly stressed that Hong Kong's affairs are purely China's internal affairs and that no foreign government, organisation or individual has the right to intervene."

Hong Kong has been wracked by months of protests over an attempt by its Beijing-backed government to pass an extradition Bill which opponents saw as a huge dent in the city's autonomy.

It has since morphed into a wider call for greater democratic freedoms.

In the G-7 statement, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States called for calm.

Beijing has previously accused former colonial power Britain of interfering in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, which was handed over to China in 1997.

 
 

"The rule of law, social order, economic livelihood and international image of Hong Kong has been severely affected," said Mr Geng.

"No one cares more about the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong than the Chinese people, including the people of Hong Kong."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2019, with the headline 'China slams G-7 statement over HK autonomy'. Print Edition | Subscribe