- The Republican politician made the comments during city visit to witness anti-government demonstrations
- Lam delivers broadside against overseas politicians who ‘ignore the facts’ about city's situation
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has hit out at United States senator Josh Hawley for his "irresponsible" remark that Hong Kong is becoming a police state.
Hawley, the youngest sitting senator in the US, arrived in the city on Sunday to observe the anti-government protests, which have raged for more than four months.
At the end of the visit, he urged demonstrators in Hong Kong to shun violence, but he blamed Hong Kong police for aggravating the crisis, accusing them of ramping up their use of force.
He also said the city is in "danger of sliding into a police state".
Hawley was the third Republican senator after Ted Cruz and Rick Scott to visit the city since the protests erupted in June, sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.
Asked to comment on Hawley's remarks before Tuesday's weekly meeting of her cabinet, the Executive Council, Lam accused foreign politicians of holding biased views on Hong Kong's situation.
"I thought their visit to Hong Kong would enable them to see the actual situation in a comprehensive and objective manner, but unfortunately the feedback that I've got is most of them, or several of them coming here, they have very preconceived views about Hong Kong's situation," she said.
"That's why for this particular senator to describe Hong Kong as becoming a police state is totally irresponsible and unfounded."
For this particular senator to describe Hong Kong as becoming a police state is totally irresponsible and unfounded."Carrie Lam
Lam said Hong Kong police are a highly professional and civilised force.
"I would challenge every politicians to ask themselves: if the large extent of violent acts … happened in their own country, what would they do, what would their policemen (do)?" she said.
US senator urges Hong Kong's protesters to shun violence
Hawley used his Twitter account to return fire on Lam after the press conference.
"I chose the words 'police state' purposely " because that is exactly what Hong Kong is becoming," he posted.
"I saw it myself. If Carrie Lam wants to demonstrate otherwise, here's an idea: resign."
On Sunday, a spokesman for Lam's office also took aim at Cruz, who earlier said he had not seen protesters commit any violent acts over more than four months of civil unrest in Hong Kong.
Without giving names, Lam on Tuesday also said it was "extremely regrettable" for foreign politicians to describe the violent protests as peaceful.
"In the face of disturbances in Hong Kong, they still described it as a peaceful demonstration fighting for human rights, and (he) even suggested that he did not see any violent acts, they have ignored the facts," she added.
Carrie Lam says election date unchanged despite attacks on pro-Beijing offices
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protesters " some waving American flags " filled Chater Garden and spilled onto nearby roads on Monday evening, urging US congressmen to pass a bill that would sanction and penalise Chinese and Hong Kong officials deemed to have acted against the city's democratic freedoms.
Lam noted that while the rally was relatively peaceful, some people had resorted to violence, blocking roads and vandalising shops after the event.
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