Beijing denies foreign firms at risk in Hong Kong

Beijing said on Tuesday that it opposed the United States interfering in its internal affairs, in response to a report that Washington will warn US companies of the risks of operating in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Basic Law and relevant laws clearly protect the interests of foreign investors, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular briefing.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that the US government will this week warn companies of increasing risks of operating in Hong Kong.

The report said that US companies face threats including Beijing’s ability to gain access to data that foreign companies store in the SAR.

The risks also include the new law that allows Beijing to impose sanctions against individuals or entities involved in making or implementing discriminatory measures against Chinese citizens or entities, the FT said, citing three people familiar with the matter.

Meanwhile US authorities on Tuesday strengthened their warnings to businesses about the growing risks of having supply chain and investment links to the Xinjiang region, citing what it says are forced labour and human rights abuses there.

“Given the severity and extent of these abuses, businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating US law,” the State Department said in a statement.

Signaling broader US government coordination on the issue, the Department of Labour and the US Trade Representative’s Office joined in the issuance of the updated advisory, first released under the Trump administration.

The new advisory strengthens the warning to US companies, noting that they are at risk of violating US law if their operations are linked even “indirectly” to Beijing’s “vast and growing surveillance network” in Xinjiang.

The warning also applies to the provision of financial support by venture capital and private equity firms. It also summarised previously announced actions taken by the Biden administration to address alleged forced labour and other rights abuses in Xinjiang.

China dismisses accusations of genocide and forced labour in Xinjiang and says its policies are necessary to stamp out separatists and religious extremists. (RTHK/Reuters)
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Last updated: 2021-07-14 HKT 01:23