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Iran Press TV

China slams Washington's 'gross interference' over Hong Kong matter

Iran Press TV

Mon Apr 29, 2019 02:28PM

China has denounced the behavior of the US Department of State as "gross interference" in the issue of the imprisonment of activist leaders of a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Four prominent members of Hong Kong's so-called Umbrella Movement were jailed last week for their role in the 2014 protests that paralyzed Hong Kong's central business district for months and infuriated China with its show of anger over the city's leadership.

The four leaders of the movement were sentenced to jail terms ranging from eight to 16 months.

Following the imprisonment sentence, the State Department said it was "disappointed" and called on the city to respect the rights of residents to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.

"We express strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to these comments. It is a gross interference in China's internal affairs and the internal affairs of the Hong Kong SAR (special administrative region)," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in the capital Beijing on Monday.

"China urges the US to respect China's sovereignty, respect the rule of law in Hong Kong, respect the judicial independence that the US claims is important, and stop interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs in any form," Geng added.

Washington also voiced concern last week over Hong Kong's plans for an extradition treaty with mainland China, under which those people wanted in China would be sent there for trial.

Geng defended the policy and said the treaty was necessary for preventing the city from turning into a "sanctuary" for fugitives and criminals.

Thousands of people marched on Hong Kong's parliament on Sunday to demand scrapping of proposed extradition rules that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Under the policy, Hong Kong would have the right to order the extradition of wanted offenders to China, Macau, and Taiwan as well as other countries not covered by Hong Kong's existing extradition treaties.

The laws will be debated by a council committee and are expected to be passed later this year.

Hong Kong was reunited with China under a deal between Britain and China in 1997, but it was decided that the territory should continue to enjoy its freedoms, including a separate legal system. China says that those privileges have been protected but insists it could not tolerate movements that seek full independence from the mainland.

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