HONG KONG: China has cautioned the US not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after Vice President Joseph Biden met two prominent pro-democracy advocates who have warned of Beijing’s tightening control of the territory, state news agency Xinhua said.
A former British colony that reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong enjoys considerable autonomy and broad freedoms as a capitalist hub.
But it has been locked in a lengthy battle with Beijing’s leaders to push through reforms that could culminate in a direct election of its leader in 2017.
Tension has grown over China’s meddling in Hong Kong affairs as well as a proposal that all candidates in the 2017 poll be vetted by a panel stacked with Beijing loyalists, which would essentially keep opposition candidates out of the running.
Anson Chan, a respected former senior Hong Kong official, and Martin Lee, one of the founders of the main opposition Democratic Party, met Biden at the White House last Friday, in one of the most high-profile attempts to flag such concerns internationally. But the US must “refrain from interfering,” Xinhua quoted an official of the Foreign Commissioner’s office in Hong Kong as saying.
Earlier in their two-week trip to North America, Chan and Lee also met Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the US Democratic Party in the House of Representatives, and testified before a Congressional panel on China.