The United States looks set to reintroduce annual reports to Congress on political developments in Hong Kong following a plea by the Democratic Party's founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming.
Lee broke the news as he and former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang returned to Hong Kong yesterday after their two-week visit to the US and Canada. US Vice-President Joe Biden was among the senior officials the pair met, with Lee calling for more international concern over Hong Kong's political climate.
The pair were greeted at the airport by about 30 protesters, who called them traitors for inviting foreign governments to meddle in the city's affairs.
Speaking at Chek Lap Kok, Lee, who was snubbed by the protesters as he tried to hand them flowers, said the US had decided to resume the US-Hong Kong Policy Act. The law, passed in 1992, required the US secretary of state to report to Congress on Hong Kong's developments, including its autonomy, until 2007.
"They now think the situation in Hong Kong is not very good, and it seems democracy in Hong Kong has been delayed," Lee said. "So they said they will follow it up and resume submitting a report to Congress every year."
He added: "[Beijing] wants to give us fake democracy by limiting the right to nominate the chief executive. We feel we need to tell the international community about what is happening. We did not demand [that the US and Canada] exert pressure on China. We just wanted to tell them what is happening in Hong Kong."
If Hong Kong was not permitted to achieve proper democracy, then it would damage Beijing's standing, he said.
Soon after the meeting with Biden, China's foreign ministry told the US to stop "any form of interference" in Hong Kong's internal affairs.
Chan, who is also convenor of the group Hong Kong 2020, said the reaction from Beijing demonstrated the changing climate in Hong Kong. She said that she made regular trips overseas when chief secretary and had never before been accused of colluding with foreign powers.
"Why was I not criticised back then, but I am now?" she said.