Congressional committee measure may further erode fraying relations, they warn
The move by a United States congressional committee to advance a Hong Kong-related bill is an act of meddling with China's domestic affairs and will hamper development of long-term Sino-U.S. relations, experts said.
Their comments came as U.S. lawmakers will reportedly start voting this week on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, with measures under consideration including annual reviews of the Chinese territory's special economic status and the imposition of sanctions on those who undermine its autonomy.
It has been a usual practice for some U.S. politicians to interfere in other countries' internal affairs with an excuse of human rights violations or upholding democracy, and that is true of Hong Kong, said Li Haidong, a professor of American studies at the China Foreign Affairs University.
Given the current tense China-U.S. relations, Li said the "confrontational" move that the U.S. is pursuing is part of its strategy to contain China's growth and also reflects its hegemonic mindset in international affairs.
U.S. politicians including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Jim McGovern met last week with activists clamoring for "Hong Kong independence" such as Joshua Wong and Denise Ho, and invited them to testify at a Hong Kong-related hearing. They have threatened to introduce the Hong Kong-related bill.
The Office of the Commissioner of Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Monday blasted the U.S. politicians in a statement for openly colluding with Hong Kong independence activists and being the "black hand" behind the Hong Kong protest.
Shen Yamei, an associate researcher of the China Institute of International Studies, said that the bill would not be valid in Hong Kong, even if adopted. However, Shen said, the bill will undermine long-term China-U.S. relations.
K. J. Noh, a Korean-American who is an expert on China and other Asian countries, together with Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, co-directors of PopularResistance.org, published an open letter to the U.S. congress last week, saying the Hong-Kong related bill must be opposed.
It's clear that the leaders of the Hong Kong protests are traveling freely out of Hong Kong, speaking their minds freely while urging a foreign power to assess and impose sanctions on their own city, said the open letter published on the website PopularResistance.org. "These contradictions indicate that all their claims should be critically analyzed."
Calling the bill "an act of moral hazard", the letter said the bill would also degrade currently antagonistic China-U.S. ties even further, pushing relations toward overt hostility and direct conflict.