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Hong Kong localism and independence

Chinese foreign ministry brands Hong Kong separatist Andy Chan deplorable for writing to Donald Trump.... while city leader Carrie Lam was lost for words

Letter fully exposes Chan’s true face, colluding with external forces to stir up trouble, ministry spokesman says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 August, 2018, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2018, 1:28pm

The Chinese foreign ministry has called a Hong Kong separatist “deplorable” for sending a letter to US President Donald Trump, calling for the city and China to be kicked out of the World Trade Organisation.

“The letter... fully exposed [Andy Chan Ho-tin’s] true face, colluding with external forces to stir up trouble in China and Hong Kong,” said the office’s spokesman in Beijing on Tuesday, adding that such plan would have no chance to succeed.

Hong Kong National Party leader Chan last Saturday published an open letter calling for WTO membership to be revoked from China and Hong Kong, citing a “rapid deterioration of freedoms” in the city and a loss of autonomy under Chinese rule.

The foreign ministry’s remarks came hot on the heels of Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, saying she could “not find the adjectives” to describe how inappropriate it had been for Chan to send the letter.

“For somebody to advocate that a foreign government should penalise or punish Hong Kong ... really, I just don’t know what sort of adjectives to use to describe this sort of action,” Lam said.

Chan wrote that the US government should suspend the “differential treatment” afforded to the city under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act, meaning China-targeted tariffs and trade policies would be applied to Hong Kong also.

Facing the media before meeting her advisers in the Executive Council on Tuesday, Lam was asked if she thought Chan’s letter was appropriate.

“Of course such action is not appropriate,” Lam said. “And just describing it as inappropriate perhaps has not reflected the public outcry and anger with that sort of action.

“I can only say that this is deeply regretted.”

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People living in Hong Kong should have the city’s best interests at heart, she said, regardless of whether they supported the “one country, two systems” principle under which the territory was governed.

No reasonable person would condone Chan’s actions, Lam said.

In a reply to an earlier inquiry from the Post, the US consulate in Hong Kong said the policy act meant the city was treated as “a special administrative region distinct from China for purposes of US domestic law”.

Spokesman Harvey Sernovitz said: “We judge that Hong Kong retains a sufficient level of autonomy to justify continued special treatment by the United States for bilateral agreements and programmes.”

The Hong Kong National Party was thrust into the limelight last month when police recommended the Security Bureau ban the organisation under the Societies Ordinance as a threat to national security.

Hong Kong National Party leader Andy Chan rebuked after calling on US President Donald Trump to have city and China kicked out of World Trade Organisation

Chan’s party was given until September 4 to put forward its case in writing on why it should not be outlawed.

Zhang Xiaoming, the Chinese central government’s chief of Hong Kong affairs, last week said Chan and his party had “plotted, organised and carried out activities with seditious intention”.

Last Tuesday Chan gave a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong laying out his party’s philosophy, which Zhang said had exposed the city’s “inadequacies” in protecting national security.

But several local democratic lawmakers with political alliance The Professionals Guild on Monday urged Lam not to press the club further, warning that such actions could backfire and damage Hong Kong’s image.

In response, Lam called on lawmakers to “speak up more that you do not support independence”.

The legislators were attending a consultation session with Lam on her coming policy address set for October. After the event, legal sector lawmaker Dennis Kwok said no more time should be wasted dealing with the National Party, and lawmakers did not support independence in any way.