The Auckland office of China's Consulate General has lodged a stern warning to New Zealand and other foreign nations against turning Hong Kong into a pawn to curb China.
In a statement released to the Herald yesterday, Chinese Consul General Ruan Ping outlined the Hong Kong situation from a Chinese perspective.
It comes after ACT leader David Seymour demanded an explanation after the consulate praised the "spontaneous patriotism" of students involved in a scuffle at the University of Auckland during a Hong Kong democracy protest.
Seymour said he was concerned about "what appears to be the consulate interfering in the internal affairs of New Zealand".
Ruan said of the protesters in Hong Kong: "We cannot wake up those who pretend to be asleep as they deliberately provoke confrontation, maliciously spread rumours, mislead the public and commit violence.
"Their actions have gone beyond peaceful demonstrations...they confuse the public, cause panic and disrupt the social order."
Ruan said the protesters were not expressing their concerns about the law amendments, but rather used it to disrupt Hong Kong's rule of law and undermine the principle of "one country, two systems".
He described the protests as "organised riots".
"I believe no responsible government in the world, including New Zealand government, will allow this kind of situation of undermining the rule of law to continue without taking any action," he said.
Ruan said under the "one country, two systems", Hong Kong had not only retained its legal and social system, but enjoyed a "higher degree of autonomy".
"Hong Kong courts have the power of final adjudication after the return of Hong Kong [from the British to China] in 1997, before that [it] went to the Queen's Privy Council," he said.
"It is easy for New Zealand to understand this, for it has similar experience."
Hong Kong, a former British colony, has its own judiciary and separate legal system from mainland China.
Despite the two systems, Ruan said its premise was "one country" and that meant a need for mutual legal arrangements to stop criminals from seeking safe havens in different judicial areas in China.
He slammed the United States for not condemning the violent acts and distorting facts.
"They rudely criticise the Chinese government, support radicals and fuel the deterioration of the situation," Ruan said.
"They should be ashamed of their irresponsible and disgraceful role, selective and misleading attitudes and obvious double standard."
The consul-general said it would be in the interest of foreign nations for the rule of law in Hong Kong to be maintained.
"If any foreign country wants to mess up Hong Kong and turn Hong Kong into a pawn that contains or curbs China, their scheme is doomed to fail," Ruan warned.
Seymour, however, said the statement demonstrated "stunning hypocrisy" on the part of the Chinese.
"The Chinese Consul General this morning condemned the protests in Hong Kong as disrupting order and the rule of law, but just eight days ago, the Consulate praised a group of students who assaulted a peaceful protester opposed to the extradition bill," he said.
"(It) warned foreign nations against supporting the Hong Kong protests implying this would represent interference in internal Chinese affairs. Over the past few weeks, the Consulate has done just that in NZ."
Seymour said the Consulate had so far failed to address the concerns about its actions in NZ.