The White House on Tuesday responded to a petition calling for additional U.S. pressure on the Chinese government to honor its promise of democratic elections in Hong Kong, saying that the U.S. “supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong” and “a genuine choice of candidates representative of the voters’ will.”
The petition drew nearly 200,000 signatures. According to the SCMP, a petition on the White House website that attracts more than 100,000 signatures within 30 days receives an official response from the administration.
Washington previously made a statement calling for Hong Kong leaders to show restraint after police lobbed tear-gas canisters at protestors holding umbrellas on Sunday evening. Since that incident, the number of officers on the streets has diminished while the number of protestors has ballooned to four-minute drone footage levels.
Read the White House’s full response:
We are watching the situation in Hong Kong closely. Around the world, the United States supports internationally recognized fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. We urge the Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint, and for protestors to express their views peacefully.
The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people. We believe that an open society, with the highest possible degree of autonomy and governed by the rule of law, is essential for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity — indeed this is what has made Hong Kong such a successful and truly global city. We have consistently made our position known to Beijing, and we will continue to do so.
We believe that the legitimacy of the Chief Executive will be greatly enhanced if the Basic Law’s ultimate aim of selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage is fulfilled and if the election provides the people of Hong Kong a genuine choice of candidates representative of the voters’ will.
Meanwhile, for the Chinese government, “the sun rises as usual.”
by Alex Linder
[Images via SCMP]