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US Will Revoke Hong Kongs Special Status, Sanction Chinese Officials Who Erode Autonomy: Trump

President Donald Trump announced on May 29 that Hong Kongs preferential trading status will be stripped, lambasting the Chinese regime for “smothering Hong Kongs freedom.”

The move came a day after Beijing pressed ahead with enacting a national security law in Hong Kong, a move that critics said could endanger Hong Kongs status as a global financial hub.

The United States previously treated Hong Kong as a separate entity from mainland China in the areas of trade, investment, and immigration, and has meant that current U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods do not apply to Hong Kong.

At a White House press conference on China policies, Trump said that he will revoke Hong Kongs special status, and will update U.S. travel advisories, “to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus” following the laws approval.

The administration will also “take necessary steps” to sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials “directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kongs autonomy,” he said.

The former British colony reverted back to Chinese rule in 1997, whereby Beijing promised to retain its autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework.

“China has replaced its promised formula, one country, two systems, with one country, one system,” Trump said, adding that Beijings latest law is “diminishing the citys long-standing and very proud status.”

“This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China, and indeed the people of the world,” he said.

Two days ago, secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Hong Kong was no longer sufficiently autonomous from mainland China to justify its special treatment under U.S. law, but formally revoking Hong Kongs special privileges requires an executive order by the president.

While much of the bills specifics will be rolled out in the coming months, the draft resolution aims to target any activities the regime deems as “secession, subversion, infiltration, or sabotage.” It would also enable central authorities to send security agencies to Hong Kong.

In the latest assertion of Beijings authority, Zhao Kezhi, head of Chinas Ministry of Public Security, vowed to “fully direct and support Hong Kong police” to “maintain Hong Kongs safety and stability” at a political conference on Friday.

Beijings Threats

Hong Kongs pro-Beijing government on Thursday night expressed “strong opposition” to the United States decision to strip Hong Kong of special economic benefits that distinguish the city from mainland China, warning that the sanctions could backfire.

“Any sanctions are a double-edged sword that will not only harm the interests of Hong Kong but also significantly those of the U.S.,” a Hong Kong government spokesperson said in a press release.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, in anticipation of Trumps press conference, threatened retaliation during a May 29 press conference.

“Chinese governments resolve to oppose any foreign forces interfering with Hong Kong affairs will not be shaken,” he said, adding that Beijing has “fulfilled all rights and obligations” under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a treaty signed in 1984 to lay out Hong Kongs future upon its return to Chinese sovereignty.

Global stocks fell on Friday as investors awaited the U.S. response to Beijings national security law.

Epoch Times Photo
People take cover as riot police use pepper spray projectile during a protest as a second reading of a controversial national anthem law takes place in Hong Kong, on May 27, 2020. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Hongkongers Defiant

For two days in a row, long lines have formed at Hong Kong banks as locals rushed to convert their savings into U.S. dollars.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government spent 2.54 million Hong Kong dollars (about $327,660) to run ads in local newspapers on Friday, appealing to citizens to support the new law.

Popular sentiment seemed to swing in the opposite direction. A poll by the protester-founded Citizens Press Conference found that among 370,000 respondents, 98.6 percent opposed the Chinese law, with a Read More – Source