February 9, 2024
HONG KONG – The central government and representatives of various sectors in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have condemned senior United States officials for meeting and supporting Hong Kong rioters who’ve fled overseas, slamming the move as a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a violation of the spirit of the rule of law.
Daniel Kritenbrink, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, on Monday met with four Hong Kong fugitives who’re wanted by police in the SAR for endangering national security — Elmer Yuan Gong-yi, Anna Kwok Fung-yee, Frances Hui Wing-ting and Joey Siu — and later expressed support for them in a social media post.
Condemning Kritenbrink’s action, Wang Wenbin – a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs — said the US official’s action tramples on the principle of the rule of law and lay bare the US’ long-standing double standards on human rights and the rule of law. The HKSAR’s affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no external interference, he said.
In a demonstration staged outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong on Thursday afternoon, representatives from the New Territories Association of Societies said Kritenbrink’s move flouts the rule of law in Hong Kong. They urged US officials to respect Hong Kong’s judicial independence and to not allow the US to become a haven for fugitives.
Members of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions — the city’s largest labor union — protested outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong on Wednesday. They strongly condemned Kritenbrink for openly backing and protecting fugitives who’ve endangered national security and demanded that the US immediately cease interfering in the city’s internal affairs.
They also urged the SAR government to expedite legislating Article 23 of the Basic Law to safeguard national security and stability in Hong Kong.
Members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong – the city’s biggest political party — also held a separate rally outside the US consulate. They said the four fugitives, who’re wanted for endangering national security, have continued to engage in activities that pose a threat to national security after fleeing overseas. Expressing full support for the SAR government in holding those endangering national security accountable, the DAB urged the US to respect the rule of law and abide by international law and practices.
Willy Fu Kin-chi, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said the arrest warrants for the fugitives were issued in accordance with the law, and external forces have no right to meddle in the matter.
Fu, a law professor, urged senior US officials to stop political grandstanding immediately.
Hong Kong police issued a bounty of HK$1 million ($128,000) each in July last year for information leading to the arrest of eight people who’re wanted for endangering national security, including Yuan and Kwok. Separate bounties of HK$1 million each were issued for Hui and Siu in December last year.