US dismisses Beijing’s tongue-lashing over Hong Kong controversy – Washington Examiner

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s team needled China by urging Hong Kong not to pass a controversial extradition bill, just hours after similar comments provoked a tongue-lashing in Beijing.

“If passed, the ordinance would permit Chinese authorities to request the extradition of individuals to mainland China, and submit such individuals to China’s capricious judicial system,” a State Department representative told the Washington Examiner Friday afternoon.

That warning was sent in defiance of the communist regime, which summoned a top diplomat at the American embassy to the Chinese Foreign Ministry earlier Friday for a face-to-face complaint about “interference” in the dispute. U.S. lawmakers have been warning that the passage of the legislation, which provoked mass protests this week, could lead to a rewrite of the federal law that provides Hong Kong with special status for trade and economic purposes.

“China called on the United States … to immediately stop all interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and stop taking action that would affect the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said following Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng’s meeting with Robert Forden, the second-in-command at the U.S. embassy.

That meeting took place after a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers reintroduced legislation that would “require the secretary of state to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy to justify special treatment afforded to Hong Kong.”

That status has been key to Hong Kong’s economic success in recent decades, as the U.S. opted to treat the former British colony as a distinct economic entity from China, provided that the mainland communist authorities allowed Hong Kong to retain its capitalist system inherited from the United Kingdom.

The extradition bill would allow communist authorities to take custody of people in Hong Kong, provided they presented a judge in Hong Kong a sworn affidavit that the person had committed a certain category of crimes in mainland China. It would result in “legalized kidnapping,” opponents have warned — fears that drove hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents to the streets in recent days.

“We continue to urge the Hong Kong government to consult with the broad range of local and international stakeholders who may be affected by proposed amendments and ensure that the Legislative Council is able to give proper scrutiny to the proposals,” the State Department spokesperson said.

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