- “We will continue to implement President Trump’s directive to end Hong Kong’s special status,” Pompeo said.
- Today, thousands of protesters have flocked to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the new law’s entry into force.
- Secretary Pompeo also threatened new retaliatory measures towards Beijing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today condemned the recent arrests in Hong Kong, which he called another “communist-run city,” following the entry into force of China’s new national security law applied to the territory. Pompeo also made remarks to reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
“A free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous and dynamic cities,” Pompeo said. “Now it will be just another communist-run city where its people will be subject to the party elite’s whims. It’s sad.” said Pompeo at a press conference.
“We will continue to implement President Trump’s directive to end Hong Kong’s special status,” he added. “Security forces are already rounding up Hong Kongers for daring to speak and think freely. The rule of law has been eviscerated. And as always, the Chinese Communist Party fears its own people more than anything else,” he said.
Today, thousands of protesters have flocked to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the new law’s entry into force, and at least 300 people have been arrested, with at least nine already under the new rules, according to local police.
The head of the State Department expressed particular concern over Article 38 of the new legislation that penalizes actions committed outside Hong Kong, and which may apply to Americans.
“Article 38 of the new law also purports to apply to offenses committed outside of Hong Kong by non-residents of Hong Kong, and this likely includes Americans. This is outrageous and an affront to all nations,” he said.
In response to the new law, Washington restricted the issuing of visas to Chinese senior officials deemed responsible for the new law, and also revoked Hong Kong’s “special status” in view of the risk of US “sensitive” technology being misused by Chinese officials.
“On Friday, we implemented visa restrictions on those responsible for the Hong Kong crackdown. On Monday, we announced that we would end defense equipment and dual-use technology exports of U.S. origin going to the territory,” he said.
Secretary Pompeo also threatened new retaliatory measures towards Beijing, and said that the United States will eliminate the policy of exemptions granted to Hong Kong a different and special status, with rare exceptions.
When asked whether this measure means the loss of Hong Kong’s economic relationship with the United States, Pompeo replied:
“And as for how far we’ll go, I’ll just repeat what the President said. He wants to ensure, with a handful of exceptions, that Hong Kong is treated just like mainland China because that’s the way that General Secretary Xi has chosen to treat that place as well.”
The United Kingdom transferred Hong Kong to the administration of China in 1997 on the condition that the former colony would maintain certain freedoms, in addition to judicial and legislative autonomy for 50 years.
China’s new national security law for Hong Kong, passed and enacted on Tuesday, provides to punish subversive activities, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.