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Learning English - Words in the News
06 October, 2004 - Published 14:15 GMT
Hong Kong China US report
Pro democracy activist

A report by the US Congressional Executive Commission on China says that the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have tried to delay democratic reforms in Hong Kong. China's foreign ministry said the report was not completely correct. This report from Chris Hogg:

Listen to the story

The American politicians don't pull their punches. They say they're troubled by Beijing's efforts to hinder democratic reform in Hong Kong. In April, China ruled out direct elections for the territory's next leader. The Congressmen say the declaration at that time that Beijing alone had the power to change the political structure here was inconsistent with its 1997 pledge to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy to run its own affairs. But China has hit back, its foreign ministry urging the Congressional commission to wipe out its prejudice, respect the truth and stop its interference in China's internal affairs.

Hong Kong's government has published a point-by-point rebuttal of the US claims, something it's had to do several times in recent months in response to similar criticisms from the British government and organisations like Human Rights Watch. It insisted that basic freedoms of the press, of expression, assembly and religion, remain strong in Hong Kong. A senior government official, echoing the comments from Beijing, appealed to foreign governments to respect the principle that Hong Kong affairs are best dealt with by the territory's government without interference from abroad.

Chris Hogg, BBC News, Hong Kong

Listen to the words

don't pull their punches
say exactly what they think even if it is critical and negative

to make it more difficult to do something

changes and improvements to a law, social system or institution

ruled out
to reject something, to not allow something to happen

not in agreement with something else


the control of a country, organisation or group by itself

wipe out
to destroy completely

an unreasonable dislike of someone or something

a statement which proves that a criticism against someone or something is not true


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