United States begins revoking Hong Kong's special status over row with China

Cheryl Sanders
June 30, 2020

The national security legislation has been condemned internationally as a threat to Hong Kong's autonomy as promised under the "one country, two systems" terms of the former British colony's handover to Chinese control in 1997.

Beijing says the law, which comes in response to last year's often-violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces.

The law, which was drafted in a matter of weeks and bypasses Hong Kong's Legislative Assembly, bans subversion and secession, among other things.

The new law would "severely impact" freedom, democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, Taiwan's cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the democratic island would continue to offer help to Hong Kong people.

"As Beijing moves forward with passing the national security law, the United States will today end exports of USA -origin defense equipment and will take steps toward imposing the same restrictions on US defense and dual-use technologies to Hong Kong as it does for China", Pompeo sad in a statement.

On June 20, the NPC standing committee released more details about the draft proposal: Beijing would have jurisdiction over certain cases under exceptional circumstances, the regime would also establish a national security agency in the city, and the chief executive-a position now held by pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam-would appoint judges to hear national security-related cases.

The law is expected may be passed during this week's meeting of the National People's Congress Standing Committee; the law's full text has not been published.

The heaviest penalty that can be imposed in China's new national security law for Hong Kong is life imprisonment, the editor in chief of the Global Times newspaper said on Tuesday, citing people who have seen the draft of the law.

Beijing is expected to set up a national security office in Hong Kong to "supervise, guide and support" the city government.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on late Monday, they suspended the preferential treatment given to Hong Kong, including export license exceptions.

Some "special cases" will be handled directly from Beijing, with no indication given of what might constitute a "special case".

Hours before her press conference, the U.S. State Department announced that it will end exports of U.S. -origin defense equipment to Hong Kong, as well as restrict U.S. defense and dual-use technologies in the former British colony given Beijing's intentions to impose its national security law.

A majority in Hong Kong opposes the legislation, a poll conducted for Reuters this month showed.

In late May, the national parliament passed a resolution regarding the introduction of the national security law for Hong Kong, saying the legal reforms are necessary for the territory's "long-term stability and prosperity".

The United States is not ruling out "additional measures" to reflect the reality on the ground in Hong Kong.

"It is not appropriate for me to comment on any questions related to the national security law", she said.

The Taiwan government warned its citizens of risks in visiting Hong Kong.

According to the anonymous source, China's official state news agency Xinhua will publish details of the law later on Tuesday.

Hong Kong stocks were up 0.9 percent on Tuesday, in line with Asian markets.

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