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The American administration said Hong Kong has lost political autonomy from China, according to last year’s Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires such a certification each year.
This decision could trigger sanctions and have consequences on Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S.
The Chinese approval of the national security law bypassing the Hong Kong authorities has prompted the American government to review the special status of the former British colony, which can now also be subject to sanctions.
The US Congress has also passed a bill that will sanction Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses against Muslim minorities.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong has collapsed, and the offshore yuan has fallen, while speculation is spreading that the Chinese government will allow a weaker currency in response to recent American punitive measures.
The decision by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opens the door to a number of options, such as restrictions on visas, freezing of assets for key officials, imposing tariffs on goods from the former colony, etc.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong as they struggle against the CCP’s increasing denial of the autonomy that they were promised,” Pompeo said.
“Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997. No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”
China, through the embassy in America, has made it known that it will take the necessary countermeasures.
Pro-democratic activists in Hong Kong welcomed the recent speech by the American congress.
China gained control of Hong Kong through the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, but this principle that was supposed to regulate the passage of the former British colony to China was ignored under the presidency of Xi Jinping. Over the past year, dozens of oceanic demonstrations and more or less violent protests have been traversing Hong Kong during the coronavirus health crisis.
But the recent decision by the Chinese government to implement the new national security law in Hong Kong, de facto bypassing the local government, unable to implement itself with its national security law, has brought Hong Kong back to demonstrate.