US, Britain reject claim they incited anti-national-education rallies

US and Britain deny allegations of inciting anti-national education rallies to hurt Beijing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 3:46am

The US and Britain rejected claims they are manipulating anti-national-education protests in Hong Kong in a bid to "cripple" the city and undermine Beijing's ability to rule.

Both the US and British consulates strongly rejected commentaries on ATV and in the Hong Kong edition of China Daily - a central government mouthpiece. The commentaries said Western powers were pulling strings behind the scenes to disrupt China's modernisation drive and destabilise Hong Kong.

A British consulate spokeswoman said: "We strongly deny any accusation of interference in the national education issue by the UK. We are strong supporters of 'one country, two systems'.

"Education policy is one of the areas over which Hong Kong has autonomy. The issue of national and moral education is therefore a matter entirely for the Hong Kong government and people. … any suggestion of interference in the issue by the UK is absurd."

A spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office in London also backed the statement.

Last Monday, on ATV Focus, local pan-democrats were described as "destructive powers" who "are backed by London and Washington", aiming to cripple the city and prove China is an incapable ruler.

Scott Robinson, a spokesman for the US consulate, said: "There is no basis to the claims made by ATV … The United States does not endorse any particular politicians or political parties in Hong Kong and Macau.

"Our activities here are the normal diplomatic activities that all countries engage in."

It is understood that ATV Focus is the responsibility of Louie King-bun, a former senior editor at the Beijing loyalist newspaper Ta Kung Pao, which ran a front-page report in a similar tone. The China Daily editorial the day after the broadcast was an excerpt of Ta Kung Pao's report.

ATV declined to comment yesterday.