Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at British bank HSBC for backing the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to crack down on Hong Kong’s autonomy.
In a Tuesday statement, Pompeo slammed HSBC Asia-Pacific executive Peter Wong’s decision to sign a petition in support of Beijing’s law imposing security restrictions on Hong Kong. The Trump administration moved to end preferential treatment for the territory in response to the measure, a decision Hong Kong officials criticized.
“That show of fealty seems to have earned HSBC little respect in Beijing, which continues to use the bank’s business in China as political leverage against London,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said China has reportedly threatened to “punish” HSBC and break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the UK unless British officials let Chinese tech giant Huawei help build the country’s 5G network.
US officials have urged their UK counterparts to ban Huawei from the 5G effort over national security concerns. Pompeo called Huawei “extension of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state,” but the Shenzhen-based company has denied that its equipment can be used for spying.
“The United States stands ready to assist our friends in the UK with any needs they have, from building secure and reliable nuclear power plants to developing trusted 5G solutions that protect their citizens’ privacy,” Pompeo said in the statement. “Free nations deal in true friendship and desire mutual prosperity, not political and corporate kowtows.”
HSBC declined to comment Wednesday. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the US should “stop stoking discord and using Hong Kong-related matters to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
With Post wires
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