Hong Kong, China block campaign account for John Lee

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Hong Kong, China block campaign account for John Lee

Reuters said on Thursday that governments in Hong Kong and China have blocked a campaign account for Hong Kong's sole leader John Lee because of U.S. sanctions and accused the U.S. of undermining freedom of speech.

Lee, Hong Kong's number 2 official behind the leader Carrie Lam, said the block would not affect his campaign to lead the former British colony for the next five years in an election scheduled for May 8.

The announcements made by both China's Foreign Ministry and the Hong Kong government came a day after Alphabet Inc, which owns YouTube, said it had taken down Lee's campaign account to comply with U.S. sanctions.

The U.S. imposed sanctions on Lee and other Hong Kong and Chinese officials in 2020 over what Washington said was their role in curbing the city's freedoms under a national security law Beijing imposed in June of that year.

It is absolutely wrong and groundless for certain US companies to willingly serve as the US government's political tools to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries citing compliance with sanctions as an excuse, said Wang Wenbin, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The US has gone so far as to undermine freedom of speech, out of political purpose. A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said it strongly opposed and expressed extreme outrage at any form of interference in the city's affairs by foreign forces, including the holding of its sixth chief executive election.

The political structure of the Hong Kong special administrative region is within the purview of the Central Authorities. In a statement on Thursday night, the international community should fully acknowledge this fact and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs which are internal affairs of China.