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China Accuses G-7 of 'Meddling' in Hong Kong's Affairs

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accuses, Aug. 27, 2019, G7 leaders of "meddling" and "harboring evil intentions" in Hong Kong affairs.

VOA's Mandarin Service contributed to this report

China voiced "strong dissatisfaction" Tuesday with a joint statement by G-7 leaders calling for Hong Kong's autonomy in line with Britain's handover of control of the territory to Beijing in 1984.

The leaders of the industrialized nations at their just completed summit called for calm in the wake of 12 weeks of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, but Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused them of "meddling" and "harboring evil intentions."

At a news briefing in Beijing, Geng said, "We express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the statement made by the leaders of the G-7 Summit on Hong Kong affairs."

He added, "We have repeatedly stressed that Hong Kong's affairs are purely China's internal affairs and that no foreign government, organization or individual has the right to intervene."

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds a news conference, Aug. 27, 2019.
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds a news conference, Aug. 27, 2019.

The Chinese statement came as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam reiterated her tough stance against protesters, even as she said she met with a group of young people on Monday about the demonstrations.

It was unclear whether any of the group included protesters that have taken to the streets to demand reforms to adhere to the "one country, two systems" framework called for in the 1984 agreement to maintain Hong Kong's semi-autonomous status.

A new survey released by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute indicated Lam's popularity stands at about 25 percent.

The demonstrators have contended that Lam has ignored their demands for the complete withdrawal of an extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent to Mainland China for trial, an independent inquiry into alleged excessive use of force by police against protesters and democratic elections.

"It is not a question of not responding," Lam said. "It is a question of not accepting those demands."

She said, "If violence continues, the only thing that we should do is to stamp out that violence through law enforcement actions."

Lam said it would be inappropriate for the government to accept the demands of protesters who resort to violence and harassment.

After her news conference, the University of Hong Kong's mosaic Lennon Wall commemorating the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement was vandalized.

One senior-level student criticized Lam's call for dialogue, telling VOA's Mandarin Service, “She needs to display that she is sincere to talk to the society, not just invite so called 'young people' to have a closed door discussion. I mean on what ground can those young people she chose ... represent Hong Kong protesters.”

Lam has made few public comments through several months of demonstrations that began with a call for stopping the extradition bill and expanded to include demands for full democracy.

Policemen clash with demonstrators on a street during a protest in Hong Kong, Aug. 25, 2019.
Policemen clash with demonstrators on a street during a protest in Hong Kong, Aug. 25, 2019.

Protesters have plans to continue the demonstrations, which represent the biggest threat to peace in the Asian finance center since Britain handed over control of Hong Kong to China in 1997. The protesters say they are demonstrating against what they see as an erosion of rights.

Police arrested more than 80 people during protests Saturday and Sunday that included clashes with officers.

The police blamed protesters for "escalating and illegal violent acts," while a group of pro-democracy lawmakers said it was police actions that were "totally unnecessary."

Lawmaker Andrew Wan said police had provoked protesters to occupy a road already blocked by officers, and that government and police actions during the weeks of protests have caused a "hatred among the people."

"I think the ultimate responsibility should be on the police side. That is what I observed," Wan said at a Monday news conference.

The vast majority of the thousands of protesters marched peacefully Sunday, but police at times fired bursts of tear gas at wildcat demonstrators who broke away from the largest groups. Officers also used water cannons for the first time in responding to protesters.

Some of the protesters threw bricks at police, attacked them with sticks and rods and sprayed detergent on streets to make it slippery for police.