Hong Kong’s leader warned the U.S. Tuesday not to “interfere” with her government’s response to the ongoing protests, after demonstrators called on Washington to ramp up pressure on Beijing.
Millions of people have demonstrated over the last 14 weeks in the biggest challenge to China’s rule of the financial hub since its handover from Britain in 1997. Protesters took to the streets again on Sunday, marching to the U.S. Consulate to urge President Donald Trump to “liberate” their city in a bid to increase international pressure on Beijing.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that any change to its economic relationship with Washington would threaten the “mutual benefits” both enjoy. “It’s extremely inappropriate for any country to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs,” she told reporters. “I hope that no more people in Hong Kong actively reach out to tell the United States to pass the act.” Hong Kong’s government promised this past week to formally withdraw the bill, but that failed to appease the demonstrators. Protesters accuse China of interference, which they say has steadily eroded Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy. China denies the accusation. It has denounced the protests and warned of the damage to the economy of Hong Kong, a major financial center. It has also accused foreign powers, particularly the United States and Britain, of encouraging the demonstrations and warned against foreign interference.