Not so long ago the US ended Hong Kong's special status after China passed a controversial security law. They were promptly criticized by China as interfering in its internal affairs. This didn't make sense to me because it seems like about all the US can do:
- If the US doesn't approve (and presumably even China has to agree that there'll be times when others don't approve of their actions), then they are going to say they don't approve. But since words are cheap, they are probably also going to do something.
- If the US does something, then the obvious thing to do is to change how they treat China (or Hong Kong). That's exactly what happened. They are changing only how they treat China/Hong Kong, so it doesn't seem like interference. In fact that's what society does, e.g. if I publicly declare a very unpopular position, others might refuse to interact with me.
However, China has still called this "gross interference". This sounds especially inappropriate since I can certainly think of even grosser interference, e.g. military intervention. On the other hand if this is gross interference, I can't think of milder ways to express disapproval that wouldn't be interference.
Has China ever explained how one can disapprove without also interfering? Alternatively, has China ever explained what exactly it considers interference, and what (presumably more serious actions) it considers gross interference?