A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office in Hong Kong has accused the Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan of being “anti-China” and of “colluding with foreign forces.”

The ex-lawmaker posted a statement on Facebook by US Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, both of whom are on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, criticising the Court of Appeal’s decision to jail three Occupy activists.

The post included screenshots of the email, which included the message: “If Joshua, Nathan, Alex sentenced tonight EST – can you send out to your contacts in media?” However, Lee posted the message hours before the court ruling on Thursday afternoon.

Lee Cheuk-yan. File photo: HKFP.

The statement called the ruling “another severe blow to Hong Kong’s reputation as a city governed by the rule of law.”

“The Hong Kong government may say these are ‘deterrent sentences,’ but to the rest of the world it looks like political prosecutions intended to curtail freedom of expression,” it said.

Addressing the incident on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office in Hong Kong claimed it revealed how foreign forces and anti-China forces colluded with each other to interfere with Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

“These people put up a facade of defending Hong Kong’s rule of law and judicial independence, and engage in acts that interfere with Hong Kong’s judiciary [and] destroy Hong Kong rule of law…”

Nathan Law and Joshua Wong. Photo: Karen Cheung/HKFP.

“We express deep discontent and objection to this. We must point out that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong, and we absolutely do not allow any foreign government, organisation or individuals to interfere with China’s internal affairs and matters in relation to Hong Kong.”

“We request that the US government follow basic standards in international relations and prevent the aforementioned legislators from making statements that are anti-China and promote chaos in Hong Kong.”

The statement also called on Hong Kong society to recognise and resist Lee’s “schemes” and conduct.

Lee is a former chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, but – as of 2016 – is no longer a legislator.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.