HONG KONG (Reuters) -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam scrapped a meeting with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the highest profile U.S. politician to visit the city since anti-government protests broke out more than four months ago, the senator said on Saturday.
Lam’s office had requested that the afternoon meeting be completely confidential and that Cruz refrain from speaking with the media about it, Cruz told journalists in Hong Kong.
“She seems to misunderstand how free speech operates, and also how freedom of the press operates,” said Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas and a vocal critic of China who was stopping in Hong Kong for two days as part of a regional tour.
“Ms. Lam’s cancelling the meeting is not a sign of strength. It’s a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of fear of the protesters in the streets of Hong Kong.”
Responding to a request for details about the scheduled meeting, Lam’s office said in an email: “The Chief Executive did not meet with the said U.S. Senator.”