U.S. Revokes Hong Kong’s Special Status

  • "Given Beijing now treats Hong Kong as 'One Country, One System,' so must we."
  • China has responded with threats to restrict the granting of visas to US citizens.
  • Other nations that have expressed strong opposition to China’s move are Britain, Japan, and the European Union.

In yet another protest move towards China, following its enactment of the controversial national security law that has been imposed in Hong Kong, the United States government has restricted defense equipment and high-tech products exports to Hong Kong. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement.

The Hong Kong national security law is a decision adopted by the third session of the thirteenth National People’s Congress, to authorize the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to promulgate a national security law in Hong Kong. The pan-democratic camp, human rights organisations and politicians abroad have criticised the decision as a threat to the “one country, two systems” principle, the rule of law and civil liberties.

“It gives us no pleasure to take this action, which is a direct consequence of Beijing’s decision to violate its own commitments under the U.N.-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Pompeo wrote in a statement. “Our actions target the regime, not the Chinese people.  But given Beijing now treats Hong Kong as ‘One Country, One System,’ so must we.”

At the end of last month, when China began the process of approving the security law, Pompeo had warned that the US government no longer considered Hong Kong as a territory with that autonomy, thus opening the door to eliminate privileges with respect to China in its economic and diplomatic relations.

The import restrictions come after the Trump administration announced last week that it would end the extradition treaty linking it to Hong Kong. The US also announced that it would cancel visas for Chinese masters students and researchers related to China’s People’s Liberation Army, and threatened sanctions against Chinese government authorities and financial entities related to the formulation of the controversial law.

The import measure extends to Hong Kong the limitations on receiving high-tech products that the US prohibits its companies from selling to rivals, such as China or Russia, as it considers a risk to national security. The decision could affect companies that have chosen Hong Kong, Asia’s main financial center, to focus their business on the continent.

China has responded with threats to restrict the granting of visas to US citizens, which Pompeo called Beijing’s refusal to “accept responsibility for its own decisions.”

The United States–Hong Kong Policy Act, or more commonly known as the Hong Kong Policy Act or Hong Kong Relations Act, is a 1992 act enacted by the United States Congress. It allows the United States to continue to treat Hong Kong separately from Mainland China for matters concerning trade export and economics control after the 1997 handover. On May 27, 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Hong Kong “no longer autonomous”, putting its special designation into uncertainty.

If China wants to regain the trust of Hong Kongers and the international community, it should honor the promises it made to the Hong Kong people and to the United Kingdom in the U.N.-registered 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Pompeo’s statement read.

The United Kingdom, which returned the former colony to China in 1997, is one of the countries that has expressed concern about the consequences of the new law. Prime minister Boris Johnson said that he is deeply concerned about the imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong.

“We will be looking at the law very carefully and we will want to scrutinize it properly to understand whether it is in conflict with the Joint Declaration between the UK and China. We will be setting out our response in due course,” said the British Prime Minister.

Other nations that have expressed strong opposition to China’s move are Japan, and the European Union. However, despite the protests, China has vowed to move on with the controversial law, insisting that it is an internal affair and foreign nations should keep off.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday vowed that US attempts to obstruct China on dealing with matters touching on Hong Kong via sanctions won’t bear fruits. “The U.S. side’s attempt to obstruct China from promoting Hong Kong’s national security legislation through the so-called sanctions will never succeed,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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