HONG KONG: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday (Sep 10) she deeply regrets foreign interference in the financial hub's matters and that an escalation of violence cannot solve social issues in the Chinese-ruled city.
"To interfere into Hong Kong's internal affairs ... this is totally unnecessary," she said in reply to a question on the United States' Hong Kong Policy Act in her weekly press briefing.
US Senator Chuck Schumer has pushed for a bipartisan Bill that would require an annual justification of the special treatment afforded by Washington to Hong Kong, including special trade and business privileges, under the US Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.
The legislation, called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, would also mandate that officials in China and Hong Kong who have undermined the city’s autonomy are vulnerable to sanctions.
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"Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy in conducting our external affairs. But those external affairs are certainly will be of mutual benefits to both parties," Lam said.
"Any agreements that we have or any particular provisions applied to Hong Kong by the Americans are not exclusively for the benefit of Hong Kong."
"They are also mutual," the chief executive said, adding that there are close to 1,400 US companies in Hong Kong that enjoy the benefits of positive bilateral relationship between the US and Hong Kong.
"We ourselves have the obligation or the duty to comply with the Basic Law," said Lam, referring to Hong Kong's constitution that grants the autonomous region freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China.
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Addressing the violence over the weekend, Lam said the withdrawal of the extradition Bill and other measures were announced to start a dialogue with the Hong Kong people.
"Violence should be stopped for the benefit of Hong Kong, but going forward, to mend the rift in society and to bring back peace, then we are very willing to engage people directly in a dialogue," she added.
"The first priority in order to achieve the objective of bringing peace and order to Hong Kong is for all people of Hong Kong to say 'no' to violence."
On Monday, Lam visited the Central MTR station to inspect repairs that were being carried out following damage sustained during protests. Central was one of the MTR stations "severely vandalised by radical protesters" on Sunday, a government press release said.
Hong Kong has been plunged into its biggest political crisis in decades after a controversial extradition Bill sparked mass protests after it was first proposed in February.
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