Beijing furious over US Consul's remarks on Hong Kong, 'One Country, Two Systems'

Chinese officials and citizens demand apologies, resignation from US Consul Kurt Tong after remarks on Chinese influence hurting Hong Kong's economic well-being

File Photo: US Consul Kurt Tong (US State Dept. photo)

File Photo: US Consul Kurt Tong (US State Dept. photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The United States General Consul in Hong Kong, Kurt Tong, is making Chinese leadership uncomfortable with recent statements on Hong Kong, and his criticisms of Beijing’s involvement in the city-state’s internal politics.

In a Feb. 27 address to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology alumni, Tong said that Beijing’s “One Country, Two Systems” framework for Hong Kong was a threat to the economic livelihood of the city. He was harshly criticized by Chinese leaders, and his statements were derided as “defamatory.”

Over the weekend, numerous politicians and commentators across China have called on Tong to apologize for his remarks. Protestors even gathered outside the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong demanding Tong’s resignation.

Among the statements that were seen as controversial was his remark that the year 2018 was “not a good year for Hong Kong’s history in terms of maintaining its autonomy under ‘one country, two systems,’” framework, reports Hong Kong Free Press.

Following the speech, China’s Foreign Ministry decried Tong’s message as “erroneous” and “inappropriate,” and pleaded with U.S. official to “stop discrediting "one country, two systems.’"

“Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs allow no foreign interference,” read a statement from the Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner's Office in Hong Kong.

Despite the outcry, Tong has steadfastly refused to offer an apology or step down.

Standing by his assertion that he was offering his views with a mind for Hong Kong’s wellbeing, Tong was quoted by reports as saying the following on Monday, March 4.

“I’m not going to apologize for saying Hong Kong is a great place to do business or Hong Kong is a wonderful city…Identifying risks is not a bad thing. It is important to talk about possible future scenarios, so we can think about the best way to operate in the future context.”