Beijing official says ‘real enemies’ want Hong Kong to be ‘geopolitical pawn’

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FILE PHOTO: Luo Huining, newly appointed head of the Hong Kong Liaison Office, addresses the media to mark his first day at the office in Hong Kong, China January 6, 2020. REUTERS / Navesh Chitrakar reuters_tickers

This content was published on June 12, 2021 – 06:54

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The main Chinese government official in Hong Kong said on Saturday that those trying to make the city a “geopolitical pawn” were the “real enemies” and that Beijing was the real defender of special status from the city.

Luo Huining, director of the Chinese Liaison Office in Hong Kong, told a forum that the financial center, a former British colony ceded to China in 1997, remains one of the most competitive economies in the world, reported the South China Morning Post.

“Those who try to make Hong Kong a geopolitical pawn, a tool to hold back China, as well as a bridgehead to infiltrate the mainland, are destroying the foundations of one country, of two systems,” Luo said. , referring to the formula agreed upon when Britain returned the city in an attempt to preserve its freedoms and its role as a financial hub.

“These are the real enemies of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” he said, without identifying any individuals or groups.

Luo said the ruling Communist Party was “the creator, leader, implementer and defender of one country, of two systems.”

Despite these assurances, many Hong Kong residents have expressed concern in recent years over what they see as Beijing’s attempts to restrict its freedoms.

China denies it.

The liaison office did not respond to calls outside normal business hours to confirm the content of the speech and did not immediately respond to questions sent by fax.

Unease among many Hong Kong residents increased in 2014 when pro-democracy protesters took to the streets to demand universal suffrage. Protests snowballed again in 2019, sparked by opposition to judicial reform that many saw as a threat to their way of life.

Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the city last June, stifling the pro-democracy movement and raising new concerns about the city’s prospects.

Supporters of the law say it restored order and improved prospects for the city’s economy, which Luo said was among the most competitive in the world despite fears it could deteriorate under rule. Chinese.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; editing by Robert Birsel)

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