A pro-Beijing heavyweight has backed Hong Kong officials who condemned US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan despite repeated warnings from China. Such a move was not at odds with the Basic Law provision stating that Beijing shall be responsible for the city’s foreign affairs, she said.

Rtia Fan
Rtia Fan speaks on Now News on August 4, 2022. Photo: Now News screenshot.

It was “dutiful” for Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee and other top government officials to issue statements to “strongly condemn” the senior US politician’s unannounced stop in the Taiwan during her Asia tour, former Hong Kong delegate to China’s top legislature Rita Fan said on Now News on Thursday.

The ex-Legislative Council president said while the Basic Law states that China shall decide on matters relating to foreign affairs for Hong Kong, what Lee and his administration did was in line with Beijing’s stance. The view that the officials’ statements was not in accordance with the Basic Law was therefore “totally unsuitable,” Fan said.

“Hong Kong citizens should not think that [making a stance] would be disadvantageous to us, or think that our officials should not make a statement. I think it is dutiful, every Chinese person should safeguard the territorial integrity of China,” Fan told Now News’ current affairs segment News Magazine.

Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen Nancy Pelosi
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (right) meets with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) on August 3, 2022. Photo: Wang Yu Ching/Taiwan’s Office of the President.

According to Article 13 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the local government is not responsible for the city’s foreign affairs. Instead, “the Central People’s Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs relating to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

Fan’s comments came a little over a day after the city’s leader and top ministers slammed Pelosi as having “wantonly trampled” on the one-China principle. The visit of the high-ranking US democrat, who became the first US house leader to set foot in the self-ruled island in 25 years, was tantamount to encouraging “Taiwan independence,” Hong Kong officials claimed.

Lee and his administration also said they would give full support to the central Government and “facilitate all necessary measures” to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

John Lee Exco Executive council
Chief Executive John Lee. File photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

On Thursday, China began its largest-ever live-fire military drills surrounding Taiwan, a day after Pelosi left the island following her meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.

The self-ruled island’s Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday afternoon that the China’s military the People’s Liberation Army had launched multiple Dongfeng ballistic missiles at their northeast and southeast waters since 1.56 p.m. The island’s armed forces were monitoring the situation, it said, while Taiwan’s defence systems were activated.

“We condemn such irrational action that has jeopardized regional peace,” the Taiwan defence ministry tweeted.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.