Department Press Briefing – August 8, 2019 (Hong Kong Excerpts)

U.S. Department of State

Department Press Briefing – August 8, 2019

AUGUST 8, 2019


QUESTION: Good to see you. The Chinese foreign ministry’s office in Hong Kong has issued a formal protest over a reported meeting between U.S. consular officials in the city and opposition figures. The statement demanded the U.S. explain the purpose of the meeting and, quote, “immediately” cease interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs. Do you have anything on that meeting and then reaction to the statement?

MS ORTAGUS: How did you characterize the first sentence? Can you say that again?

QUESTION: It was the Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong, I believe.

MS ORTAGUS: Uh-huh. But how – but what did you say that – they issued a – you said? Read your first statement again.

QUESTION: A formal protest?

MS ORTAGUS: Yeah. I don’t think that leaking an American diplomat’s private information, pictures, names of their children – I don’t think that that’s a formal protest. That is what a thuggish regime would do. That’s not how a responsible nation would behave. Releasing any of that personal information of an American diplomat is completely unacceptable. That’s not a protest. That’s what a thuggish regime does, and it’s unacceptable.

QUESTION: Thank you.


QUESTION: Well, (inaudible) address the reason for the thuggishness, which is a meeting between a consular official and —

MS ORTAGUS: This is – this is what – sure, I understand the question. This is what American diplomats do every single day around the world. American diplomats meet with formal government officials, we meet with opposition protesters, not just in Hong Kong or China. I mean, this literally happens in every single country in which an American embassy is present. So our diplomat was doing her job and we commend her for her work.

QUESTION: So you don’t buy the Chinese argument that because Hong Kong is part of China, even though it’s run differently, that this is interference in their internal affairs?

MS ORTAGUS: This is what not only American diplomats do, this is what other countries’ diplomats do.