U.S. Objections to New Restrictions on Official Meetings in Hong Kong

The United States objects to new restrictions imposed by the PRC on the official meetings of the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong.

For years, mainland Chinese authorities have imposed barriers on American diplomats in mainland China. Attempts by American diplomats to host cultural events, meet officials and other counterparts, and to visit university campuses are routinely impeded by the PRC.

In response to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) unjustified and wide-ranging restrictions on U.S. diplomats and longstanding refusal to engage in good faith on achieving greater reciprocity, the Department of State was compelled to introduce new requirements on Chinese diplomats working in the United States. These restrictions require the PRC Ambassador, deputy chief of mission, and consuls general in the United States to receive Department of State approval to visit U.S. university campuses and to meet with local government officials.

As in the past, staff from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices in the United States are free to meet with anyone without approval. The retaliatory inclusion of the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong in recent restrictions issued by the PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) – as well as reports that the PRC instructed the Hong Kong government not to meet with American diplomats – show the PRC’s disregard for its own promises to the people of Hong Kong, individual freedoms, and diplomatic norms. It also points to Beijing’s failure to live up to its “One Country Two Systems” commitment. Hong Kong has benefited for years from open discourse and the free exchange of ideas. Beijing’s effort to limit dialogue is harmful to all sides.

Based on the PRC MFA diplomatic note received by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the permission requirements enacted by the MFA apply only to the Consul General in Hong Kong, and do not affect other U.S. diplomatic personnel.