Carrie Lam: HKSAR government strongly opposes U.S. bill on Hong Kong
Updated 15:54, 03-Dec-2019

Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam expressed strong opposition to a U.S. bill concerning the HKSAR at a weekly news briefing on Tuesday.

"The U.S. Human Rights and Democracy Act is wholly unnecessary" and it will "hurt American business," Lam told reporters at the regular briefing.

On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry (MOFA) banned U.S. military ships and aircraft from visiting Hong Kong and imposed sanctions on several U.S. non-government organizations as a response to U.S. legislation passed last week.

Beijing then warned of taking "firm counter-measures" after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the Hong Kong bills.

MOFA spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Monday that China had suspended taking requests for U.S. military visits indefinitely, and warned of further action to come.

"We urge the U.S. to correct the mistakes and stop interfering in our internal affairs. China will take further steps if necessary to uphold Hong Kong's stability and prosperity and China's sovereignty," Hua said.

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During Tuesday's press conference Lam said her government strongly opposes the U.S. legislation, warning such action will hurt U.S. companies' interests.

The chief executive also announced a fourth round of relief measures in the short-term as the world's financial center is about to record its first deficit in 15 years.

Lam said the city's economy has entered a very difficult situation, citing numbers released on Monday: Retail sales in October fell to 3.85 billion U.S. dollars, representing a 24.3-percent decrease from a year ago.

The protests and violence have badly hit the tourism sector. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, October tourist arrivals fell 43.7 percent year-on-year to 3.31 million, compared with a 34.2-percent drop in September. The number of mainland visitors fell 45.9 percent in October, accounting for 76.1 percent of the total.

While warning the city foresees a fiscal deficit in the next one to two years, Lam emphasized confidence in managing the economic difficulties.

She said her government will release a fourth-round of relief measures to help sectors and businesses battered by the nearly six-month protests.

Lam added that the city has accumulated decent reserves to do so, but she did not give details on the new round of measures at the press conference.