Ending preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong and holding China directly accountable for violation of democracy and human rights, US President Donald Trump, while reiterating his commitment to stand by the people of Hong Kong, signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.
US sanctions on Hong Kong come close on the heels of the controversial new security law steamrolled by China which drew global condemnation with analysts dubbing it as a means of suppressing all forms of dissent by residents of Hong Kong by Xi’s administration. The law criminalises offences it broadly defines as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation sent a chill through Hong Kong, which last year saw massive, and sometimes violent, pro-democracy protests.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 14, 2020
Spelling out that the order would end preferential treatment for Hong Kong, President Trump told a news conference, “no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies” would be extended any further.
In response to Beijing’s broken promises, President @realDonaldTrump has taken steps to end Hong Kong’s preferential treatment and announced the United States will place a special focus on the admission of Hong Kong residents as refugees. We stand with the Hong Kong people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 16, 2020
“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China. This law gives my administration powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals and the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom. Their freedom has been taken away, their rights have been taken away,” President Trump said.
Today’s executive order on #HongKong is unfortunate, but necessary, as the U.S. continues to address the increasingly alarming actions of the #CCP. The U.S. stands with the people of Hong Kong and supports their rights to freedom, democracy, & prosperity. https://t.co/Jnb1JULft5
— U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SenateForeign) July 15, 2020
President Trump accused China of violating obligations vis-a-vis Hong Kong. “China has violated longstanding obligations on the issue, reversing Hong Kong’s status as a free society and endangering its innocent residents. These actions are a blatant violation of China’s promise to Great Britain that it would keep Hong Kong free and open until the year 2047,” he said.
China has been quick to hit back and warned the United States of repercussions. Slamming US sanctions related to Hong Kong, China’s foreign ministry said it “firmly opposes and strongly condemns” the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which was unanimously passed the US Congress earlier this month and approves sanctions on Chinese officials and banks over Beijing’s clampdown in Hong Kong.
“China will make necessary responses to protect its legitimate interests, and impose sanctions on relevant US personnel and entities,” the ministry added. Government’s mouthpiece The Global Times also has been carrying a series of reports to show how the move could end up hurting US more.
#HongKong Secretary for Security sees latest stances of #US internet giants on #NationalSecurityLaw for #HongKong politically motivated. “If they violate the law, no matter what excuse the company has, it would be liable,” he says. https://t.co/sDiwC9b8h0 pic.twitter.com/u3XDQ5kFhj
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 16, 2020
The story for sure is far from over.