China put up a website on Friday that lists more than 100 times the U.S. has “interfered” in Hong Kong and includes the names of government officials who allegedly facilitated the city’s “destabilization.”
What’s in it: The “fact sheet,” titled “U.S. Interference in Hong Kong Affairs and Support for Anti-China, Destabilizing Forces,” was published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). It lists 102 actions from both the Biden and Trump administrations dating back to early 2019.
The big picture: It’s unclear why the MFA released the list of grievances now. Some speculate China may be preparing to take punitive measures against the officials. Regardless, the list becomes the latest barrier to repair diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing.
- Biden’s name is mentioned on the website once. It cites his support for the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, which was forced to close in June on suspicion of violations against Hong Kong’s national security law.
- In a statement published on the White House’s website, Biden called the paper’s closure “a sad day for media freedom” and a signal of “intensified repression by Beijing.” The MFA alleged that Biden was “using media freedom as a pretext.”
- The website mentions Trump’s name five times. It condemns his signing of multiple bills or orders that came in response to the pro-democracy protests of 2019, namely the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the Act to Prohibit the Commercial Export of Covered Munitions Items to the Hong Kong Police Force, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and the President’s Executive Order 13936 on Hong Kong Normalization.
- The Ministry also took offense to a statement Trump made on Oct. 7, 2019 when he said “We just want to see a humane solution” in Hong Kong. The former president was also condemned for calling protesters “the great people over there” and stating that they were flying the American flag.
- Other U.S. officials named on the list include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (mentioned seven times), Secretary of State Anthony Blinken (mentioned nine times) and his predecessor Mike Pompeo (mentioned 16 times), to name a few. Pompeo recently made headlines after revealing that he had no idea about phone calls Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley had made with China’s military during Trump’s final months in office — a period when Trump was speculated to launch an attack on China.
- Just last Wednesday, Qin Gang, China’s ambassador to the U.S., urged the Biden administration to adopt a less-hostile approach to working with China. The official also called for “strategic courage and political resolve to chart a new course” in the countries’ relations.
- Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly talked for 90 minutes on Sept. 10 — their first call since February this year. However, Xi, who has not left China for more than 600 days, reportedly declined an in-person meeting suggested by Biden.