US consulate accused of encouraging secession
A senior official from Beijing's liaison office has lashed out at the US consulate in Hong Kong for stirring up trouble and trying to encourage the city to secede.
Hao Tiechuan, director general of the department of publicity, cultural and sports affairs, labelled US Consul General Stephen Young an 'old hand' in trying to instigate Taiwanese independence as well as secession in eastern European countries.
He made the comments on Sina Weibo, the mainland's popular micro-blogging service, on Wednesday night. But he deleted them the same night. His remarks came just two days after the Hong Kong office of the Foreign Ministry warned that Washington should stop meddling in the city's affairs.
According to a report by the semi-official China News Service on Monday and carried on the front-page of the official China Daily on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Office of the Foreign Ministry Commissioner in Hong Kong said cables released by WikiLeaks showed that the US consulate was interfering in the city's constitutional development by holding meetings with selected people and conducting so-called opinion exchanges.
'Many mainlanders do not know that forces like the US have been attempting to use Hong Kong as a bridgehead to contain the rise of China,' Hao wrote in his blog. 'They don't hope for China to attain democracy and the rule of law. They just want China to fall into turmoil.'
He said the United States wanted to destabilise the mainland and Hong Kong. 'Who will eventually suffer? Millions of Chinese. I'm adamant that the US doesn't want us to attain democracy and enjoy human rights.'
Hao questioned why the US consulate hired several hundred staff. 'What are they doing in such a tiny place as Hong Kong? They intend to stir up trouble in an attempt to secede the city from China. What kind of person is US Consul General Stephen Young? He is an old hand who engaged in instigating Taiwanese independence and secession in eastern European countries.'
Young was director of the American Institute in Taiwan between 2006 and 2009.
Hao could not be reached for comment yesterday.
US consulate spokesman Joseph Bookbinder said: 'Although we cannot speak to the substance or authenticity of materials which may have been leaked, including classified documents, we reject any assertion that the behaviour of US diplomatic or consular staff has been anything other than appropriate and in keeping with long-standing diplomatic and consular law and practice.'
Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Hao was unwise in posting the remarks on his blog. 'Even if he knows well the US' real motive in dealing with China and Hong Kong, there is no need for him to make his views public.'