China just blasted the US for 'interfering' in Hong Kong after Trump officials signaled support for a pro-democracy activist

Jimmy Lai

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Tycoon and Apple Daily Newspaper owner Jimmy Lai.

  • Apple Daily owner, Jimmy Lai has been meeting with senior Trump officials including Vice President Mike Pence.
  • Lai has been an outspoken democracy advocate in Hong Kong and the meetings signal the US supporting Hong Kong's protesters.
  • Trump earlier this week signaled a support for Taiwan in securing the biggest arms deal to Taipei since he took office, again angering Beijing.
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Trump is continuing to frustrate China, ahead of US-China talks resuming, as now administration officials have signaled support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai, a democracy advocate and Hong Kong publisher has been granted high-level meetings with US officials, much to Beijing's dismay, Bloomberg reported.

Lai met with National Security Advisor John Bolton on Wednesday after meeting with Vice-president Mike Pence earlier in the week as well as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and senators Ted Cruz, Corey Gardener and Rick Scott.

"By repeatedly interfering in Hong Kong affairs, the US has sent seriously wrong signals to the world," Geng Shuang , a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said in a July 9 briefing, according to Bloomberg. "We deplore and firmly oppose that."

The US doesn't usually offer meetings with such senior officials, unless they are senior visiting dignitaries, so given Lai holds no government position, this will come as a signal Trump is not looking to please China ahead of trade war talks.

The meetings send a message that the Trump Administration is supporting the protesters in Hong Kong, who have been campaigning against the Chinese government's bid to implement an extradition bill in the former British colony.

Earlier this week The State Department approved a $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the largest military sale since Trump took office. In doing so the deal that could threaten a tentative truce struck between the US and China in the countries' trade war.

On Wednesday Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a statement that the US "flagrantly interferes in China's domestic affairs and harms China's sovereignty and security interests," when asked about the Taiwan arms deal, and that "China deplores and resolutely opposes it."

None of the officials who met Lai appeared publicly with the activist, Bloomberg said, however they did pose for photos.

Lai controls Next Digital media company which publishes Hong Kong Newspaper Apple Daily. When asked about the meeting with Pompeo, State department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, said the two discussed the extradition bill and China's "one country, two systems" structure, Bloomberg said.


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