China says ‘some countries’ are trying to block its development by ‘interfering’ in Hong Kong

Holly Chik

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has accused “some countries” of blocking China’s development by interfering in Hong Kong affairs, using human rights as an excuse.

“Some countries and forces attack and smear China on Hong Kong issues, which are China’s internal affairs, with human rights as an excuse,” Wang told his Ethiopian and Egyptian counterparts during separate phone conversations, according to the foreign ministry.

“Their real intent is to meddle in Hong Kong affairs and disrupt the development of China,” said Wang, who added that countries should not interfere with each others’ internal affairs and politicise human rights.

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The ministry continued that Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri and Ethiopia’s Gedu Andargachew had expressed support for China’s handling of Hong Kong.

National security law: US suspends Hong Kong import rights over autonomy fears

However, Beijing’s move to enact a national security law in Hong Kong, which was passed by China’s top legislative body on Tuesday, has fuelled further tensions with the United States.

Critics fear the law will be used to suppress dissent and erode freedoms in the city.

Hours before the new law was passed, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would stop exporting defence equipment to Hong Kong and end an exemption that allowed it to import dual-use technologies that need a licence to be sold to mainland China.

“We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China,” Pompeo said on Monday.

Last Friday, the US also said it would impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials over the law, which prompted Beijing to promise to retaliate in kind.

The previous day the US Senate voted unanimously to pass the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which would allow the US government to sanction officials undermining the city’s autonomy.

On June 17, a dozen African leaders showed support for China after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in a video conference to discuss “solidarity against Covid-19”.

China to put visa restrictions on US individuals over Hong Kong

“The African side supports China’s position on Taiwan and Hong Kong, and supports China’s efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong in accordance with law,” according to a joint statement published after the summit.

The Chinese foreign minister also said China would continue to offer aid to its African allies to combat the coronavirus and speed up plans to build an African centre of diseases control.

Wang also told his Ethiopian counterpart Gedu that China would pursue debt relief for African countries through the G20 debt suspension initiative.

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