Attempts by the U.S. Congress to interfere in China's internal affairs with the proposed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act are not only "inappropriate", but also against accepted international practices, a major political party in Hong Kong said on Tuesday.
The message was conveyed by members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, known as the DAB, to Hanscom Smith, the U.S. consul general to Hong Kong and Macao, in a meeting on Tuesday. The DAB is the largest political party in the city's legislature.
Starry Lee Wai-king, the DAB's chairwoman, told reporters after the meeting that some U.S. politicians have overreacted to Hong Kong's current situation in supporting the proposed act.
The act, reintroduced in the U.S. Congress in June, calls for an annual assessment of Hong Kong's autonomy and, if the results were deemed unfavorable, would allow such restrictions as the suspension of Hong Kong's special trade and economic status with the U.S.
Lee said the proposed act constitutes meddling in China's affairs via U.S. domestic law, which she said is against the common practices of the international community.
Holden Chow Ho-ding, who is the DAB's vice-chairman and also a legislator, said the proposed act aims to pressure both the government of the Hong Kong special administrative region and the central government, which could lead to the escalation of tension between China and the U.S. and harm both countries and the rest of the world.
According to Lee, Smith said he would convey the DAB's message to the U.S. Congress and the government.
What is happening in Hong Kong is not a crisis of human rights but a crisis of rule of law, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
Attacks launched by radical protesters have severely damaged rule of law and security, and it is a top priority to end the violence at an early date, Hua said.
Also on Tuesday, Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the much-awaited dialogue platform with the Hong Kong public will hold its first session next week.
At a media briefing before the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam said 100 to 200 people from all walks of life would be invited to next week's talk to discuss deep-rooted problems facing the city. The meeting will be open to the media.
Lam added that the dialogue platform will adopt other formats, including discussions with randomly selected representatives and in-depth dialogues with small groups of people from various backgrounds.
The efforts to build such a platform have received positive feedback from the public, Lam said.
Amid the increasingly violent protests, which have roiled the city for more than three months, the dialogues are a key way for society to break the political impasse, she added. "Communication is better than confrontation."