• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:16pm
NewsHong Kong

US consul Clifford Hart gets another blast from Beijing over democracy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 3:49pm

Washington's top envoy in Hong Kong might have thought he was being careful when he said on Tuesday that the US would not take sides when it came to the city's democratic development.

But Clifford Hart's comments in his first public speech in his new role managed to reignite Beijing's anger.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday again told the US to stay out of Hong Kong affairs.

While Hart said Washington supported "genuine universal suffrage" but had "no prescription" when it came to democratic development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said no other country should have any say in the city's constitutional development.

"The issue of political development is Hong Kong's internal affair, and China's internal politics," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. "No countries should make irresponsible remarks. We request that the relevant countries align their words with their actions, and do more that helps Hong Kong become prosperous and stable."

The Beijing-loyalist Wen Wei Po published an editorial saying Hart could be "facing a gloomy ending if he continues meddling in Hong Kong's political development". It said: "Clifford Hart has ignored a warning from the Chinese government and is blatantly intervening in the city's political development. Such an act is a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations."

It was referring to the treaty that forbids diplomats from interfering in the internal affairs of host states. In May, the Foreign Ministry also quoted the document in a warning to Hart's predecessor, Stephen Young.

The daily pointed an accusing finger at an invitation the consulate posted on Facebook on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, asking people what their dream was. Most of those who posted replies said they wanted an independent Hong Kong.



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This article is now closed to comments

The CCP continues to demonstrate, with these overreactions, that they are more panicky and weak than anyone thought. They must be assuming its all over for them by Christmas
And yet Beijing has no problem commenting on US internal policies. Perhaps they should pass their issues along to the new complaint desk at State. It is staffed by Ms. Helen Waite. If they have a complaint, feel free to go to Helen Waite.
I remember first free democratic elections in Eastern Europe after 1989. Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Lithuania... They didn't have much experience with democracy before and help, support etc from other countries were welcomed. And nobody was angry with French, German, British or Americans. In fact, thanks to their help democratic process in Eastern Europe could go smooth.
Beijing needs to pick better people to handle external affairs. US officials normally accuse China of being undemocratic. Now here comes Hart with some cautious statements and he is blasted for that. What would Beijing expect him to say? Oh, you guys are right and can do whatever you wish? This isnt the US's style so Beijing should react only when they really believe foreign powers are intervening. Frankly, I personally feel Hart's statements indicates the US is adopting a hands-off approach.
The Chinese Communist Party speaks from, and demonstrates by these repeated testy retorts, a position of fear, constant fear of the tide of free speech which will ultimately wash them away.
Good grief, why does the CCP repeatedly insist on embarrassing itself with these petty juvenile outbursts. I mean, it's funny as hell, but it certainly is unbecoming, especially when representing a country that has aspirations of being an emerging superpower.
Hart never stated, implied, or intimated that the US has "any say" in HK's political evolution. The US supports "universal suffrage" - that is a point of fact. But the US has "no prescription" for HK. So on what planet does that constitute interference?
And the constant whining about "internal affairs"?!? Hong Lei and talking heads like him saying the phrase "internal affairs" should really become a drinking game. Come to think of it, "political stability" and "social harmony" could be utilized for similar games as well. i'm sure there are many others where those came from.
The best thing for these American diplomats (another term for expatriates with a nothing-to-do overseas job) is to simply "Shut Up".................
And the US govt speaks no lies ( wmd iraq, syria ) & holds no fear, totally secure ( NSA surv ).
Get real ianson.
Why do foreign diplomats posted to HK always have to comment on China's internal affairs? Do they do that to other countries, I wonder? Do diplomats posted to the US comment on the rights of the colored people, the lack of universal health in the US? They don't.
Just because they asked for help doesn't mean that China should. And China hasn't.



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