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US Human Rights Report Cites Hong Kong Protests

  • Shannon Van Sant

Pro democracy protesters gather at Admiralty district during the rally after the government called off the talks with students on Oct. 10, 2014 in Hong Kong.

Pro democracy protesters gather at Admiralty district during the rally after the government called off the talks with students on Oct. 10, 2014 in Hong Kong.

A U.S. congressional report on the human rights situation in Hong Kong elicited strong reaction today from the Chinese government, which affirmed its opposition to outside interference in China's domestic affairs.

Making Hong Kong one of its 13 key policy recommendations in its 2014 annual report to Congress, the Congressional Executive Commission on China urges American lawmakers to closely monitor democracy protests in the former British colony and aggressively pressure Beijing on the issue.

Beijing officials say the report distorts facts.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said China is strongly dissatisfied with the report and urges the commission to stop actions which damage US-China relations.

He said Hong Kong’s affairs are China’s domestic affairs, and no government, institution or individual has the right to interfere.

The commission said China’s proposed elections in Hong Kong “raise concerns about the future of the fragile freedoms and rule of law that distinguish Hong Kong from mainland China and underpin Hong Kong’s financial reputation and prosperity.”

The report urged members of Congress and the White House to support pro-democracy protesters through statements, meetings at high levels and visits to Hong Kong. It also recommends that Congress demand a clear accounting of events in Hong Kong.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has also joined calls for full democracy in Hong Kong.

In a recent speech, Ma asked why China won’t allow people to go "democratic first" and fulfill promises that China's communist leadership made to Hong Kong 17 years ago, saying Beijing vowed that Hong Kong would be administered by its own officials.

Ma also says Beijing had promised that Hong Kong would have a high degree of autonomy and that the election of the chief executive would be through universal suffrage. Ma said if China would fulfill these promises the current crises would take a turn for the better.

China’s Foreign Ministry responded, saying that the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong were a violation of law and that the election plan put forth by Beijing was already a historic step towards democracy.

The U.S. report on human rights also recommends the U.S. legislators commend Chinese human rights activists and give Chinese citizens technology to circumvent government censorship.

Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters have planned a huge rally for the city after the Hong Kong government cancelled planned talks with protest organizers.

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