by Sebastian Hughes
Secretary of State Antony Blinken took down a tweet he posted Thursday saying the U.S. would “stand with the people of Hong Kong,” the South China Morning Post reported.
“Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councillors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability,” Blinken said in the tweet, as shown in screenshots from the South China Morning Post.
“We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms,” he added. Blinken took down his tweet on Friday, later replacing it with a milder message, South China Morning Post reported.
The tweet was made after seven opposition district councillors in Hong Kong were unseated, the South China Morning Post reported. China has continuingly tightened its grip on Hong Kong since 2019, including overhauling its election laws in March to give itself more control.
A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry’s Hong Kong office condemned “irresponsible comments from certain US politicians” in a statement on Friday, adding “US slanders” would not stop the country from requiring “patriots administering Hong Kong,” according to the Morning Post.
“[The seven district councillors] smeared the Chinese central government and the HKSAR government, stood on the side of anti-China, destabilising forces in Hong Kong and interfered in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs as a whole,” the statement said.
Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councilors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability. We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms.
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) September 16, 2021
A State Department spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that the original tweet was meant to be posted to spokesperson Ned Price‘s account, but was mistakenly sent out on Blinken’s.
“Suggestions that this administrative change was somehow motivated by political concerns is patently untrue,” the spokesperson said. “The tweets affirm—in words and in meaning—that the United States stands with the people of Hong Kong. We urge the PRC to allow the people of Hong Kong to meaningfully participate in their governance.”
“The PRC’s disqualification of seven pro-democracy district councillors undermines the ability of people in Hong Kong to participate in their governance. Governments should serve the people they represent. Decreasing representation goes against the spirit of Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” Blinken tweeted Friday, replacing the old post.
South China Morning Post reported Price had also deleted his tweet, but a version posted Thursday was still available on his account when the DCNF accessed it on Friday.
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Sebastian Hughes is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.