China backs HK visa sanction vs PH officials
MANILA, Philippines – China expressed its support for the sanctions imposed by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) against the Philippines over the August 2010 Manila hostage crisis and urged government officials to address the concerns of families of the victims.
“The ‘August 23’ Hong Kong hostage incident affects the feelings of the Chinese, including Hong Kong compatriots,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said in a recent press conference.
“The Central government supports the efforts made by the Hong Kong SAR government for the proper settlement of the follow-up matters. We urge the Philippine side to face squarely the concerns of the victims and their families, show sincerity and solve the relevant issues at an early date,” she said.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced January 29 that it will cancel visa-free arrangements for Philippine government officials and diplomatic passport holders beginning February 5.
Leung said that the Philippine government failed to respond to the demands of the families of the victims.
Hong Kong has been asking for a formal apology from the Philippines after seven tourists from Hong Kong were killed in a hostage crisis at the Luneta in Manila.
The hostage-taker, former policeman Rolando Mendoza, and one Filipino tour guide were killed during the rescue conducted by police that has been regarded as a bungled operation.
A day after Hong Kong announced its sanctions, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said that the Philippine government will not apologize and that “a substantive closure” was already achieved three years ago.
“The sanction is unfortunate because a substantive closure on the Quirino Grandstand Incident had already been arrived at three years ago with the previous Hong Kong SAR Government and the victims as well as their families,” DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a press conference January 30.
“A total renegotiation has been opened by the Hong Kong SAR Government to seek a demand for an apology which the Philippines, as a sovereign nation, is not prepared to consider,” Hernandez said.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said that the president of the Philippines should not be the one to apologize because the incident happened on the local government level headed by the Mayor of Manila.
“(Hong Kong officials and representatives of the victims) still insist that the President should be the one to apologize. I told them that it’s the mayor who is responsible for what happens in a town or city,” Estrada told reporters on January 31.
The mayor of Manila during the hostage incident was Alfredo Lim. He was defeated by former president Estrada during the May 2013 elections.
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