China’s Foreign Ministry has summoned United States Ambassador to Beijing Terry Branstad to protest the passing in the US Congress of a bill related to Hong Kong and to demand an end to American meddling in the country’s internal affairs.
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives voted 417 to 1 to approve the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which had been unanimously passed by the Senate the day before. President Donald Trump is now expected to sign that bill and another one related to Hong Kong into law.
In a notice posted on its website on Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang had told Ambassador Branstad that Washington had “to correct its errors and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China’s internal matters.”
Hong Kong has been engulfed by mass protests since June. The public display of anger initially came in opposition to a controversial extradition bill. The proposal was shelved, but the protests have continued and taken on an increasingly violent form, with masked individuals vandalizing public and private property and attacking security forces and government buildings.
The anti-government demonstrators now want complete separation from mainland China. The US has been consistently backing them.
Zheng denounced the passage of the bill as a form of encouraging the violence, adding that it constituted a serious violation of international law and basic norms of international relations.
“China expresses its strong resentment and resolute opposition [to the passage of the bill],” he was quoted as having told Branstad.
Hong Kong has been governed under a “one-country, two-system” model since the city was returned to China in 1997.
Beijing sees the US and Britain — the former colonial power in Hong Kong — as instigators of the unrest in the city.