As western countries express increasing support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, China has warned that "other nations have no right to interfere in any shape or form".
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said this line twice yesterday at a regular press briefing. He was responding to reporters' questions on the United States' call for a "swift, transparent and complete" investigation into allegations of Hong Kong police beating up a protester and British Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to "stand up for the rights" of Hong Kongers.
"Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. No foreign government or individual has the right to make indiscreet remarks or criticisms on this issue," he said. As for Mr Cameron's remarks, he said Hong Kongers' basic rights and freedoms have been fully protected since the city's handover to China in 1997.
Meanwhile, state media editorials have escalated their rhetoric decrying Western influence over the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, which Beijing has characterised as a "colour revolution" backed by the Western powers.
The Global Times yesterday warned the protesters not to turn Hong Kong into "a boxing ring between the West and China".
Analysts said that in the scheme of China's relationships with Western powers, the Hong Kong protests are a small matter and none involved wants them to affect the substance of bilateral ties. The sharp rhetoric from Beijing, Washington and London are all partly directed at home audiences, they noted, with the West making a stand against China to ward off domestic criticism.
For China's part, "it's emphasising outside influence now firstly to warn young protesters in Hong Kong not to go too far, and secondly to shift attention from its own handling of the issue", said Renmin University analyst Jin Canrong.
This article was first published on Oct 17, 2014.
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