Pressure mounts on HK
China tells US not to ‘mess up’ over extradition plan
HONG KONG, June 14: Hong Kong's embattled leader faced mounting pressure on Friday to abandon a deeply unpopular plan to allow extraditions to China, with protest organisers getting police go-ahead to hold a new rally at the weekend.
The prospect of a second protest raises the chance of fresh confrontations with the government following unprecedented political unrest. The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
Opposition to the extradition bill has united an unusually wide cross section of Hong Kong against the proposal and sparked huge rallies.
Beijing on Friday denounced what it called "violent interference" by US lawmakers critical of what they see as a worsening human rights environment in Hong Kong.
Congressional representatives introduced the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act", which appears designed to put pressure on the city -- and its pro-Beijing leader -- to withdraw a planned extradition law. The bill threatens to remove Hong Kong's status as a US special trading partner.
Some US lawmakers have "made irresponsible remarks about Hong Kong affairs and violently interfered in China's internal affairs", said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a press briefing.
"Relevant people in the United States (should) abandon the illusion of attempting to mess up Hong Kong," he added.
The city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam has so far refused to meet protester demands to withdraw or scrap the bill, although rumours were swirling Friday that a postponement to the bill was imminent. -AFP