The U.S. Pacific Fleet confirmed on Wednesday that China had blocked a previously scheduled visit for two U.S. Navy ships to Hong Kong, adding that it hopes Beijing will soon reconsider and continue allowing the American military to have ties to the capitalist port city.
The denial comes amid months of protests against the communist regime attracting millions of the city’s residents and triggering a violent police crackdown. The Communist Party has repeatedly blamed President Donald Trump of fabricating the Hong Kong protests as a ploy to weaken the Chinese economy. Trump has denied any involvement, citing the lack of evidence present and expressing confusion about the accusations.
Many are blaming me, and the United States, for the problems going on in Hong Kong. I can’t imagine why?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019
The most recent visit of a U.S. Navy ship to Hong Kong occurred in November, Stars and Stripes noted, months before the eruption of the pro-democracy protest movement that began in June.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet confirmed to Stars and Stripes that Beijing would not allow two American Navy ships — the USS Green Bay and the USS Lake Erie, scheduled for stops in the city on Saturday and next month, respectively — to visit Hong Kong. The spokesperson added that the Navy does expect to visit Hong Kong once again in the future but did not say if Beijing specified any reasons to deny the port of call and directed questions on China’s motives to China.
Neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Defense Ministry issued statements on the matter, but the government-run Global Times newspaper called the request to visit Hong Kong “inappropriate” given the Communist Party’s conspiracy theory that Washington somehow convinced millions in Hong Kong to march for freedom.
“The security situation in Hong Kong is very severe and the US government had just issued a travel warning to US citizens,” Yang Yujun, a former Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson identified as an “expert,” told the propaganda outlet. “At this time, the US request to have warships stop by in Hong Kong is contradictory to the warning and very inappropriate.”
“We are highly suspicious of US motives, now that it still expects to have warships visit Hong Kong,” Yang added.
Another “expert,” a professor identified as Li Haidong, told the outlet that the U.S. Navy wanted to dock in Hong Kong to exacerbate the “chaos” surrounding the protests, which were largely peaceful until Hong Kong police began liberally using tear gas and other anti-riot weaponry to agitate and injure those in the crowds. The police tactic of disguising undercover agents as protesters and having them attack legitimate protesters also triggered panic among those engaging in a sit-in against the government at the Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday night. Some protesters began accusing others of being Chinese communist agents; the protesters tied up and beat two men, one of them a Global Times propagandist. On Wednesday morning, protesters began circulating multiple letters apologizing for the violence at the airport and asking inconvenienced travelers to forgive their tactic of forcing airport authorities to cancel flights.
Li went on to threaten that America would “suffer an even more serious and irreversible blow” than the denial of the Navy port visits if it did not “stop interfering” in Hong Kong. Like all Chinese agents accusing Washington of having a hand in the protests, Li did not provide any examples of evidence that indicated this claim was true.
The People’s Daily, the official publication of the Communist Party of China, accused America of fabricating the protests once again on Wednesday, citing as evidence the fact that “not a single U.S. politician” has supported the state violence against the pro-democratic protests.
“There is no question that the United States has its hand in what is going on in Hong Kong, though to what extent is hard to measure,” the People’s Daily asserted.
The Hong Kong protest movement began in early June as a rejection of the wildly unpopular extradition bill presented to the Legislative Council this year. The bill would allow China to abduct anyone present in Hong Kong that Beijing chooses to accuse of violating the Communist Party’s draconian laws, which do not allow for freedom of expression or religious belief, among other liberties. The protests have since expanded to demand an independent inquiry into police brutality in response to the protests and freedom for imprisoned protesters. Protesters are also requesting that the government grant them the full ability to directly elect lawmakers and that it apologize for calling the peaceful June 12 protest a “riot.”
Some protesters have adopted the American flag and the American national anthem as emblems of their values of individual freedom, fueling paranoid Chinese state media reports that the protests are a Washington fabrication. Last week, the Global Times attempted to insult protesters by asserting that they are seeking “democracy with U.S. characteristics.”
“Does democracy mean to make Hong Kong dependent on the US or the UK?” the newspaper asked.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, primarily through top spokeswoman Hua Chunying, has repeatedly demanded America “withdraw its dirty hands from Hong Kong” and accused President Trump of instigating the movement.