The Chinese foreign ministry has criticised Hong Kong pro-independence activist Andy Chan for “colluding with external forces,” after he sent a letter to US President Donald Trump asking Washington to suspend Hong Kong’s special trade status.

Chan, whose Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) is facing a government ban, wrote the letter to Trump last Friday, asking him to suspend the differential treatment the US grants to the city under the 1992 United States-Hong Kong Policy Act. HKNP also asked him to revoke the WTO memberships of Hong Kong and China.

In response, the Chinese foreign in Beijing said the letter “twisted facts and made irresponsible remarks.”

Donald Trump
Donald Trump. Photo: GovUS.

“[It] fully exposed the relevant person’s true face of colluding with external forces and stirring up trouble in China and Hong Kong,” the ministry said on Tuesday. It added that such plans would have no chance of succeeding.

Under the existing policy act, Washington supports the democratisation of Hong Kong and human rights for its citizens. The country’s special policy towards the city – which differs from its policy towards China – is only justified if Hong Kong is “sufficiently autonomous.”

Citing the actions of the Hong Kong and Chinese governments, the letter said the city had suffered a “total loss of autonomy.” The letter also made reference to the authorities’ attempts to pressure the Foreign Correspondents’ Club to drop Chan as a speaker.

“[B]eing a submissive puppet of its colonial master, the Hong Kong government is by no means independent or autonomous in exercising its member rights, but has only given an extra arm for China to exert its influences and abuse its ‘developing country’ status under the WTO system,” it said.

鑑於近日以來香港自由迅速惡化,我黨現再發公開信予美國總統杜林普,促請總統先生審視《美國—香港政策法》,並撤銷香港及中國的世貿成員身份。In light of the rapid deterioration of freedoms in…

Posted by 香港民族黨 Hong Kong National Party on Friday, 17 August 2018

The foreign ministry’s remarks came after criticism from Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday, who said Chan’s letter was not appropriate.

“Whether you support ‘one country, two systems’ or you don’t, living in Hong Kong, I think everybody should take the interests of Hong Kong into heart,” she said.

“So, for somebody to advocate that a foreign government should penalise or punish Hong Kong is really – I just don’t know what sort of adjectives to use to describe this sort of actions.”

andy chan ho tin fcc
Andy Chan. Photo: Pool/SCMP.

There has been pressure from US congressmen urging a review of Hong Kong’s special status, following the high-profile jailing of pro-democracy activists last year.

YouTube video

The congressmen also introduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which – if passed – will establish heavy punishments for government officials in Hong Kong or mainland China responsible for suppressing basic freedoms in the city.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.