China says President Donald Trump of the United States has made “untrue” remarks about the issue of Hong Kong and Chinese trade practices.
Trump criticized Beijing for what he said was its failure to fulfill its World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. China, he said, must “protect Hong Kong’s freedom and legal system and democratic ways of life.”
Speaking at a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang referred to Trump’s remarks and said, “The general debate of the UN General Assembly is an important platform for UN member states to express and exchange their views on major issues concerning world peace and development… It is definitely not a suitable occasion for verbal attacks on other countries and interference in other countries’ internal affairs.”
Referring to the China-US relations, Geng said, “The US should move in the same direction with China, manage and control disputes on the basis of mutual respect, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit.”
Unrest began in Hong Kong in June, when people started taking to the streets to protest a proposed bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited and stand trial abroad.
Earlier this month, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam announced that the unpopular extradition bill would be withdrawn at the next session of the city’s Legislative Council, scheduled for October. Lam expressed hope that the annulment of the bill would end the unrest. The move, however, failed to calm the demonstrators.
The Chinese government says foreign countries, mainly the United States and Britain, have been provoking the protesters by issuing statements of support. Beijing has asked the two countries to stop meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Hong Kong has been governed under a “one-country, two-system” model since the city, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997.
Geng also censured a US State Department event held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on China’s treatment of Muslim minorities, including ethnic Uighurs, in Xinjiang region.
“I want to emphasize here that the issue of Xinjiang is not a religious or a human rights issue, but an anti-secession and anti-terrorism issue.”
“Xinjiang continues to maintain prosperity and stability, national unity and social harmony… All malicious slander and smearing from the US and other countries are in vain.”
Xinjiang is a vast region home to millions of Uighurs and other Muslim minority people.