By Brian Brinker | August 1, 2019

If you’ve been following news in Asia, then you know that Hong Kong has experienced massive protests and clashes between protesters and the police in recent weeks. The ongoing civil disobedience marks some of the most violent and sustained protests yet. And now, the government of China is claiming that the United States is at fault.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying claimed, “As you all know, they are somehow the work of the US” and that China would “never allow any foreign forces” to interfere in Hong Kong. The comments mark the most direct accusations on Beijing’s part. Many within China believe that the West —specifically the United States— has been encouraging and supporting the protests.

Indeed, American flags have been somewhat common at the protests, with many anti-government protesters waving the iconic stars and stripes. The Chinese government and numerous government-linked media outlets claim that high-level protest leaders have been meeting with U.S. politicians.

The protests were initially in response to an extradition bill that would have made it easier to extradite people in Hong Kong to the mainland. Protesters believe this would have undermined the semi-autonomous city-state’s high levels of freedom and that the mainland government would have used the bill to target opposition members in Hong Kong.

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The U.S. State Department labeled the accusations as “ridiculous” and claimed “It is not credible to think that millions of people are being manipulated to stand for a free and open society.” The American government does have a history of supporting pro-democracy movements. However, it’s highly unlikely that the United States could have single-handedly spurred the mass demonstrations.

This piece originally appeared in OpsLens and is used by permission.

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