The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Tuesday firmly opposed and condemned the false accusations the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong made against China's legitimate and reasonable countermeasures applied to the U.S. embassy and consulates in China, including the Consulate General in Hong Kong.
The spokesperson of the commissioner's office said that both the United States and China shall accord full facilities for the performance of the functions of diplomatic and consular personnel of each other on their territory in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-U.S. Consular Convention.
China has duly facilitated normal activities of the U.S. embassy, consulates and their personnel in China, the spokesperson said.
The U.S. side has nevertheless imposed rounds of restrictions on the normal performance of duties by the Chinese embassy, consulates and their personnel in the United States since October 2019 regardless of China's firm opposition and representations, requiring senior Chinese diplomats in the United States to receive Department of State approval to visit U.S. university campuses and meet with local government officials. The Chinese embassy and consular posts have also to seek approval for hosting cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people outside of mission properties, the spokesperson said.
Such unreasonable practice has severely violated international law and norms governing international relations, disrupted the relations and normal people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, and run counter to the values of openness and freedom the U.S. side claims to champion, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson pointed out that the measures taken towards the U.S. embassy and consulates in China are China's reciprocal, necessary and legitimate response to the groundless restrictions and barriers imposed by the United States on the Chinese embassy, consulates and their personnel there.
According to the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the Central People's Government shall be responsible for the foreign affairs relating to the HKSAR. Accordingly, the agreement regarding the maintenance of the U.S. Consulate General in the HKSAR was signed between the government of the People's Republic of China and the government of the United States, which confers no special treatment on the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, said the spokesperson.
Therefore, the introduction and application of the relevant countermeasures to the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong are completely just and legitimate, and have fully embodied instead of violating the "one country, two systems" principle, said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson said that China's legitimate countermeasures against the erroneous U.S. moves are aimed to urge the United States to stop impeding bilateral exchanges and cooperation, and do not affect the lawful rights and freedoms enjoyed by the Hong Kong residents at all.
China will continue to support normal exchanges and cooperation between the communities of China and the United States, and between Hong Kong and the rest of the world, said the spokesperson.
"At the same time, we are firmly against any attempt by external forces to undermine China's sovereignty and security and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability on the pretext of human rights and freedoms."
The spokesperson urged the U.S. side to examine itself, immediately correct its mistakes, stop the clumsy performance of distorting the truth and blaming the victim, stop discrediting "one country, two systems" and meddling with Hong Kong affairs, and withdraw its unjustified restrictions on the activities of the Chinese embassy, consulates and their personnel in the United States.