China Slams US Over 'Haven' Offer to Hong Kong Residents
People from Hong Kong in the US can now live and work in the country for 18 months. Photo: Reuters
Beijing attacked the offering of the United States for temporary refuge to Hong Kong citizens on Friday, saying it was "weaving lies."
As reported by DW, the statement by the Chinese foreign ministry said the move "slandered and smeared Hong Kong's national security law, nakedly intervened in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs, and blatantly trampled on international law and the basic norms of international relations."
It also went on to call the offer "shameless political manipulation," and that it was "doomed to failure."
Despite Beijing's outrage, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US stands "with the people of Hong Kong and will continue to stand up for the human rights and freedoms they are guaranteed."
US support for Hong Kong
The statement from the ministry’s office in Hong Kong came hours after President Joe Biden made the offer in response to Beijing’s increasing moves to tighten its control and crush the pro-democracy opposition, as reported by The Globe and Mail.
"Over the last year, the [People's Republic of China] has continued its assault on Hong Kong's autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press," said Biden's memo.
Biden signed a memorandum allowing people from Hong Kong currently residing in the United States to live and work in the country for 18 months, in direct response to Hong Kong’s sweeping new national security law and other measures that undercut the rights promised when the former British colony was handed back to China in 1997. It also comes as China and the United States are at odds over a range of foreign policy and trade issues.
Biden's move came as a response to China's increasing control over Hong Kong, and its efforts to crush the pro-democracy movement.
What’s the new rules mandate?
Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security has received instructions to implement a "deferral of removal" of up to 18 months for Hong Kong citizens who are currently residing in the US. Biden said the US will continue its support for the people of Hong Kong, adding that the move also protects US interests in the region.
China signed the controversial national security law after months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019.
Police have arrested at least 100 opposition politicians, activists and demonstrators, imposed severe limits on political speech, reorganized the local legislature to ensure an overwhelming pro-Beijing majority and demanded that anyone holding public officer prove their loyalty to China.
Pro-democracy activists in exile pleaded with Congress last month to pass legislation to provide both temporary refuge and permanent refugee status in the U.S., after Hong Kong police confirmed they had a list of more than 50 people who would be arrested if they attempted to leave.
There are several thousand people from Hong Kong in the United States who would be eligible to remain and avoid being deported under what is formally known as deferred enforced departure, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Psaki didn’t rule out extending refuge beyond 18 months depending on developments in Hong Kong.
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