U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken deleted a tweet saying that the U.S. supported Hong Kong citizens’ human rights and freedoms and then published another one with a “softer” tone, which generated a lot of criticism from Americans, according to South China Morning Post.

Blinken’s first tweet was on Thursday, Sept. 16, after the authorities disqualified seven councilors opposed to the Chinese communist regime this week, considering their oaths were invalid.

On Friday, a response from the Chinese regime was generated through a statement from a spokesman of the Hong Kong office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, saying in opposition to irresponsible comments of “certain U.S. politicians” about Hong Kong, adding that nothing will change the regime’s stance of respecting the “patriots administering Hong Kong.” 

The statement said the disqualified councilors defamed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) central government and the Hong Kong government, seeking to destabilize it and siding with anti-China forces.

Blinken’s tweet read as follows:

“Beijing should let the voices of all Hong Kongers be heard. The PRC’s disqualification of district councillors only weakens Hong Kong’s long-term political and social stability. We stand with the people of Hong Kong & continue to support their human rights & fundamental freedoms.”

On the same day, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price posted the same tweet and deleted it just as Blinken deleted his.

The next day, the Secretary of State posted a new tweet, using a slightly softer tone and not showing a firm U.S. stance on the Councilmen and advising the regime to listen to the Hong Kong people.

“The PRC’s disqualification of seven pro-democracy district councillors undermines the ability of people in Hong Kong to participate in their governance. Governments should serve the people they represent. Decreasing representation goes against the spirit of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”

Twitter users were upset with this second tweet saying it was “weak.”

Others asked why he deleted the first tweet as it showed more firmness and moral support for Hong Kongers fighting for a free Hong Kong.

A critical issue to note is that the island is experiencing a historic exodus of its inhabitants. Public statistics recently indicated that its population has declined by 1.2% over the past year. The control, repression, and limitation of freedoms that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is imposing since it introduced the National Security Law in 2020 would be the leading cause of the massive abandonment.

Hong Kong maintained steady economic growth and development for several years, accompanied by better welfare of its population and a logical population increase. However, the constant threats of the CCP, its interference in private affairs, and the continuous political repression caused a sharp drop in population due to the emigration of mainly young people and entire families, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The tipping point was reportedly the controversial National Security Law imposed by the CCP in 2020; nearly 90,000 residents have left Hong Kong amid a wave of emigration in the year following the law.

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