China has accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “blackmailing” the Hong Kong government with the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, saying on Thursday the US administration’s recent actions amounted to blatant interference in China’s internal affairs.
Pompeo said on Wednesday the recent treatment of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong made it harder to assess whether the territory remains highly autonomous from China, a requirement for the special treatment afforded to the city under American law.
A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry’s office of the commissioner to Hong Kong said in a statement that Pompeo’s actions could not scare the Chinese people and that Beijing would safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.
Hong Kong has been governed under “one country, two systems” since it was returned to China in 1997. The framework affords the territory freedoms that are not allowed anywhere else on the mainland, but concerns that those freedoms are being curtailed has helped fuel a growing movement for democracy.