China: Nancy Pelosi ‘Grossly Interfering’ in Hong Kong by Supporting Democracy

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 26, 2019 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives passed a 2-year budget deal Thursday that was struck between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. (Photo …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Tuesday of “bolstering violent radical criminals” by offering encouragement to the peaceful anti-communist movement in Hong Kong, urging her to stop “grossly interfering” in Chinese politics.

Pelosi has been one of the most outspoken supporters of the protest movement, which is seeking democratic reforms in the capitalist city. The movement began as resistance to a proposed law that would allow China to extradite anyone present in Hong Kong for perceived violations of Communist Party law, essentially making that law viable on Hong Kong soil.

The “One Country, Two Systems” policy China agreed to when taking Hong Kong back from the United Kingdom in 1997 forbids China from imposing communist law in Hong Kong. It conversely forbids Hong Kong from declaring independence from Beijing.

“Nancy Pelosi and some other U.S. politicians have been calling white black time and again, bolstering violent radical criminals and even justifying and whitewashing their behaviors,” Hua said during her regular press briefing on Tuesday. “They’ve also wantonly smeared and vilified the just move of the SAR [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] government and police to uphold the rule of law and order.”

“This is no different from covering up, conniving at and supporting illegal criminal behaviors, which again reveals their malicious intention of anti-China and messing up Hong Kong,” Hua insisted.

“The Chinese side must once again urge the relevant American politicians to immediately stop condoning violent crimes and grossly interfering in Hong Kong affairs,” Hua urged. “Any attempt to undermine ‘One Country, Two Systems,’ and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability will surely be resolutely opposed by all Chinese people, including the Hong Kong compatriots. Any attempt to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs is doomed to fail.”

The Chinese government news agency Xinhua also attacked Pelosi on Wednesday.

“People like Pelosi turn a blind eye to the lawless deeds done by violent radicals. They chose not to see just and righteous actions taken by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and police, just as they kept mum on the prevalence of police brutality in their own country,” Xinhua argued, echoing far-left critiques of Pelosi for allegedly being insufficiently sympathetic to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

“When they stir up violence in Hong Kong using ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ as a pretext, do they have any sense of shame?” Xinhua asked.

The Chinese communist regime’s broadside against Pelosi appears to be a response to a statement the House Speaker made on Tuesday confirming “Democrats and Republicans in Congress stand united with the people of Hong Kong.”

“As they have all summer, today the people of Hong Kong are sending a stirring message to the world: the dreams of freedom, justice and democracy can never be extinguished by injustice and intimidation,” Pelosi’s statement read. “The extraordinary outpouring of courage from the people of Hong Kong stands in stark contrast to a cowardly government that refuses to respect the rule of law or live up to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework which was guaranteed more than two decades ago.”

“The people of Hong Kong deserve the true autonomy that was promised, with the full rights guaranteed by the Hong Kong Basic Law and international agreements,” Pelosi said. “The Legislative Council must finally take long-overdue measures to meet the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people – starting with completely and immediately withdrawing the widely-repudiated extradition bill.”

“When we return to Washington, the bipartisan, bicameral Congress will begin our work to advance the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and fight to preserve democratic freedoms and the rule of law in Hong Kong,” Pelosi promised.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is a bipartisan bill currently in Congress that would require the Secretary of State to certify that Hong Kong is free of communist intrusion on an annual basis, ensure that Hong Kong protesters who may have criminal records tied to peaceful dissidence can get U.S. visas, and call for travel alerts and other safety protocol for Americans should Hong Kong pass the extradition bill, which would affect American citizens present in the city.

“The human rights of the people of Hong Kong are of great importance to the United States and are directly relevant to United States interests in Hong Kong [and] serve as a basis for Hong Kong’s continued economic prosperity,” the bill reads.

The Hong Kong protest movement has adopted the American flag as a symbol of its struggle for freedom. Protesters have prominently waved American flags during several of the protests occurring since early June, when civil rights groups began organizing. The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), citing interviews with those protesters, reported that waving the flag is specifically a call for Congress to pass the Human Rights and Democracy Act, and more broadly a call for China to adopt America-style federalism, which would, in theory, allow Beijing’s ruling elite to coexist with a free Hong Kong.

“There may be a temptation for some to see the presence of a foreign flag as an insult, but it should be noted that the flag bearers did not say that they intend to anger Beijing. Instead, they are appealing to a responsive institution – any responsive institution – for relief,” the HKFP noted.

Beijing’s repeated claims that the protests are violent largely obscures the fact that, in the absence of radical communist mobs, the protests have been largely peaceful. The protesters have proposed five demands: a full withdrawal of the extradition bill, an inquiry into police brutality, direct election of legislators, freedom for political prisoners, and, notably, a government statement apologizing for referring to the large June 12 protest as a violent “riot.” Insisting on their reputation for peace is a key characteristic of the Hong Kong protesters.

The protesters have faced significantly violence on the part of pro-China mobs. Late on Monday, protesters in the traditionally pro-communist neighborhood of North Point were cornered by an angry mob wielding sticks and metal rods, beating them while trapping them behind police barricades. Police arrested 80 people on Monday, but none were confirmed to be pro-China attackers. The incident resembled a similar attack in the Yuen Long suburb two weeks ago, when a white-clad mob surrounded protesters heading home from a peaceful rally at the town’s Mass Transit Rail (MTR) station and severely beat them, sending 45 people to the hospital. On that occasion, the mob targeted large congregations of people who were not protesting and injured several people who happened to be in the vicinity of the MTR station wearing black, but not participating in the protest movement.

Police confirmed protesters’ accusations that the Yuen Long attackers had ties to triads, Hong Kong’s organized crime groups.

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