Beijing expressed strong opposition on Thursday to approval of a Hong Kong-related bill by United States congressional committees, saying that any such move that undermines China's interests will be met with a vigorous response.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 confuses right and wrong in total disregard of facts, brazenly bolsters violent radicals in Hong Kong and grossly interferes in China's domestic affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in an online statement. He urged the US to immediately stop pursuing the bill and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs to avoid further damage to Sino-US relations.
Geng said it is in line with the interests of all parties, including the US, that Hong Kong maintain its prosperity and stability as there are over 80,000 US citizens living in Hong Kong, over 1,300 US companies and considerable US investment.
Passage of the act would only embolden violent radicals to further destabilize Hong Kong, which would jeopardize the interests of both China and the US, he said.
He warned that no one should underestimate China's determination to safeguard its national sovereignty, safety and development interests, implement the "one country, two systems" policy and safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
Since the return of Hong Kong to the motherland in 1997, policies including "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been earnestly carried out, and Hong Kong residents' rights and freedom have been fully guaranteed, Geng said.
In the past three months, the situation in Hong Kong, initially from the fallout over revisions to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, has gone completely awry as radical forces and violent activists seek to disturb public order, destroy public facilities and assault and injure police officers with the support and indulgence of external forces and anti-China disrupters in Hong Kong, officials said.
"All these acts went far beyond normal peaceful demonstrations and assemblies, trampled on social morality, violated the baseline of the rule of law and challenged the bottom line of the 'one country, two systems' principle," Geng said.
Geng said the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs have persisted in reviewing and approving the Hong Kong-related bill, disregarding the appeals of all sectors of Hong Kong society and the basic norms of international relations. The moves fully expose the vicious intention of some in the US Congress to propel Hong Kong into chaos and contain China's development, he said.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region also issued statements on Thursday condemning the act.
Tam Yiu-chung, a former legislator in the Hong Kong SAR, said the bill's approval by the committees is expected to further harm already-tense Sino-US ties, which will in return bite into the US and global economies.
The committee approvals also may fuel unrest in Hong Kong, and the support of foreign forces may further egg on the rioters, propelling them to wreak greater havoc in society, he said.
To minimize the negative impact of the US move, Tam urged the SAR government and the central government to consider countermeasures. "We must make the global community aware of the hidden agenda of the US and the real situation of the Hong Kong SAR," he said.
At a daily news conference, Geng also opposed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, which on Wednesday was approved by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
Under the TAIPEI Act, the US secretary of state could consider the expansion, termination or reduction of US foreign assistance to countries that "alter or downgrade official or unofficial ties with Taiwan".
"The US established diplomatic relations with China 40 years ago, but now is preventing other countries from developing normal ties with China, which is unreasonable and contradictory," Geng said.
China urged the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, stop pushing review of the negative TAIPEI Act, and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, he said.
Xinhua and Zhang Yunbi contributed to this story.