Hong Kong has welcomed Beijing’s compilation of “ironclad evidence” showing that the US meddled in Hong Kong affairs for years, whilst Chief Executive Carrie Lam called the factsheet “indisputable.”

Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the 6,300-word “factsheet” on Friday, which – in over 100 bullet points – detailed how the US had “wantonly” interfered in Hong Kong and Chinese affairs since February 2019.

Such interference included passing “ill-intentioned bills,” such as the the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, the revocation of Hong Kong’s special trade status with the US, the suspension of trade benefits and the imposition of sanctions. It also mentioned the display of candles at Hong Kong’s US consulate on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre as an effort to “destabilise” the city.

‘Ironclad evidence’

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now exposed the US’ malicious acts with ironclad evidence. Hong Kong people can now grasp the facts, understand clearly the years of interference by external forces in Hong Kong, and avoid falling prey to the malicious attempts of the US,” said the Hong Kong government spokesperson in a statement on Friday.

“The HKSAR Government is grateful to the Central Authorities for their resolute actions in enacting the Hong Kong National Security Law at the critical juncture,” the statement read.

The earliest act of US interference on China’s list dated back to February 25, 2019, when then-US Consul General to Hong Kong Kurt Tong said during an interview that he had concerns about the Hong Kong government’s plan to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.

Photo: MOFA website screnshot.

Beijing’s list included dozens of statements made by US politicians and officials that expressed concern or condemnation over Hong Kong government’s crackdown on protests, and China’s policies or laws promulgated in in the city.

Meetings between US politicians and Hong Kong democrats and activists – including Joshua Wong and Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai – were also featured on the list.

Also included were Import-export policies, restrictions on arms, and then-Vice President Mike Pence stating in 2019 that “Hong Kong is a living example of what can happen when China embraces liberty.”

‘Indisputable’ facts

In a statement on Saturday, Lam said the US had sought to slander, vilify and smear Hong Kong: “These facts are indisputable. The international community and Hong Kong people will grasp clearly through the fact sheet the US hegemony acts that wantonly interfere in Hong Kong affairs and resent them.” However, she went on to say that the city continues to be free and open after the enactment of the security law: “[T]he rights of the overseas enterprises in Hong Kong are even better protected than before.”

File Photo: Studio Incendo.

Last January, Lam claimed foreign elements were behind the 2019 protests and unrest, though admitted she had “no conclusive evidence.”

This June, she claimed universities in Hong Kong had been “penetrated by foreign forces” intent on “brainwashing” students with an anti-China narrative.

Protests erupted in June 2019 when millions of Hongkongers took to the streets to protest the since-axed extradition bill. They escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour, amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment. Demonstrators demanded an independent probe into the police conduct, amnesty for those arrested and a halt to the characterisation of protests as “riots.” 

Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.