May 29, 2020 / 1:20 PM / a month ago

U.S., Britain raise Hong Kong at U.N. Security Council, angering China

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft speaks during a Security Council meeting at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States and Britain raised China’s plan to impose new security legislation on Hong Kong at the U.N. Security Council on Friday, prompting China and Russia to criticize the United States for excessive use of force against black people.

The 15-member council informally discussed Hong Kong in a closed virtual meeting after China opposed a U.S. call on Wednesday for a formal open council meeting, arguing that it was not an issue of international peace and security.

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft asked: “Are we going to take the honorable stand to defend the human rights and the dignified way of life that millions of Hong Kong citizens have enjoyed and deserve ... or are we going to allow the Chinese Communist Party to violate international law and force its will on the people of Hong Kong?”

China’s parliament on Thursday approved a decision to move forward with legislation that democracy activists, diplomats and some in the business world fear will jeopardize Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status and role as a global financial hub.

“This legislation risks curtailing the freedoms that China has undertaken to uphold as a matter of international law,” acting British U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Allen said after the council discussion. “We are also extremely concerned that ... it will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong.”

Diplomats said Russia and China responded during the council discussion by criticizing the United States over the Minneapolis killing of an unarmed black man - seen on video gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck - and its handling of growing unrest.

“Why U.S. denies China’s right to restore peace & order in Hong Kong while brutally dispersing crowds at home?” Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy posted on Twitter after the council discussion.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun said in a statement after the meeting that the United States Britain should “mind their own business,” adding that: “Any attempt to use Hong Kong to interfere in China’s internal matters is doomed to fail.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Alistair Bell

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