- Opponents of the law say Hong Kong's special status is being violated under the new law.
- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement to Congress that Washington no longer recognizes the special situation in Hong Kong.
- The US House also passed a bill that would sanction members of the Chinese government involved in the persecution of Uyghurs.
The National People’s Congress on Thursday formally approved the so-called national security bill for Hong Kong, which it had previously considered. The review of the bill by the NPC was met with protests in Hong Kong, and the United States and Europe expressed concern about its passage.
Opponents of the law say Hong Kong’s special status, which was re-acquired by China in 1997 under the “one country, two systems” approach, is being violated under the new law. They are concerned that Beijing will use the law to destroy the island’s liberal political and economic system, and to extend China’s internal rules and approaches to the Special Administrative Region.
The bill was supported by 2,878 members of the NPC. Six abstained and one member voted against the law. Chinese officials say the aim of the law is to “prevent, stop and punish any act to split the country, subvert state power, organize and carry out terrorist activities and other behaviors that seriously endanger national security.” The law would also ban “activities of foreign and external forces” interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs
According to a resolution of the Chinese National People’s Congress, the Congressional Standing Committee will be responsible for developing and completing the security bill for Hong Kong. Demonstrators in the streets of Hong Kong protested against the plan.
A Hong Kong police spokesman said on Wednesday that at least 240 protesters had been detained. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Friday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. The metropolis has witnessed large-scale anti-Chinese protests in Hong Kong every week since last summer.
The region has been governed by the “one country, two systems” policy since 1997, when Britain ceded Hong Kong to China after more than 150 years in control. Under this system, China agreed to run Hong Kong as a Special Administrative Region until 2047.
Hong Kong has a population of 7.23 million people, and is one of the most important financial and commercial markets in Asia.
Pompeo: Hong Kong No Longer Autonomous from China
A day before the law was passed in the NPC, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement to Congress that Washington no longer recognizes the special situation in Hong Kong. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground,” he said.
“While the United States once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China,” Pompeo said, “it is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself.”
The special trading status that the United States has placed on Hong Kong so far has been particularly important economically for the autonomous island of China. The volume of trade and services between the United States and Hong Kong rose to $ 67 billion last year.
House Sanctions China Over Uyghur Persecution
The US House of Representatives also passed a bill on Wednesday that would sanction members of the Chinese government and administration who are involved in the “collective imprisonment” of members of the Uyghur minority in East Turkestan (Xinjiang).
The bill, which was previously approved by the Senate, was approved 413-1 in the House of Representatives. To enforce the law, it must be signed by the President, Donald Trump. He has not yet commented on the law.
Disputes over the various aspects of the Coronavirus Crisis, and its management, have strained relations between Washington and Beijing. So has the new security law on Hong Kong and the ongoing trade war. The new law related to the Uighur minority is also expected to exacerbate the tension.
According to human rights groups, the Chinese government has detained more than one million Uighur Muslims, and Muslims elsewhere, in “re-education” camps in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. According to the above-mentioned data, they are sometimes forced to leave their language, culture, and religion due to abuse and coercion.