China Tells U.S. to Remove ‘Black Hands’ from Hong Kong

BEIJING (Reuters) -
Placards are seen in an office of pro-China lawmaker Junius Ho destroyed by anti-extradition supporters in Hong Kong on Monday. (Reuters/Edgar Su)

China accused U.S. officials on Tuesday of being behind violent protests in Hong Kong and advised them to remove their “black hands” from the territory.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the comment at a news briefing in Beijing, when asked about the Hong Kong protests.

Escalating violence in the city over the weekend opened new fronts in its crisis over an extradition bill that could see people from the territory sent to China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

Major protests erupted last month in response to a controversial extradition bill that would have let Hong Kong residents stand trial in mainland China.

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, declared the extradition bill “dead,” but protesters insist that she formally withdraw the legislation.

Walking in sweltering heat, protesters dressed in black kicked off Sunday’s march at a public park, carrying a large banner that read “Independent Inquiry for Rule of Law.”

“Free Hong Kong! Democracy now!” the protesters chanted.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 and was promised certain democratic freedoms under the framework of “one country, two systems.”