BEIJING: China warned the United States on Monday against interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs after US Vice President Joe Biden met with two of the city’s outspoken pro-democracy campaigners last week.
In the first official response from Beijing, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua quoted an official as saying that the US should “proceed discreetly” to prevent damaging China-US relations.
Hong Kong — a former British colony which is now a special administrative region of China — is at a critical time of political reform and Beijing opposes interference by any country in China’s internal affairs, a foreign ministry spokesman in Hong Kong said, according to Xinhua’s dispatch.
In an unusually high sign of support, Biden attended talks at the White House on Friday with Martin Lee, a founder of Hong Kong’s opposition Democratic Party, and Anson Chan, former number two in the city’s government.
Biden “underscored our long-standing support for democracy in Hong Kong”, the White House said in a statement.
China has previously hit out at pledges by other foreign officials to support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists.
In September, China described comments by British Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire that Britain was “ready to support in any way we can” those pressing for greater democracy in Hong Kong as “irresponsible”.