China Faces Global Criticism Over Hong Kong; Beijing Says Prepared For US Sanctions

Possible US sanctions will not change China’s resolution to correct national security loopholes in Hong Kong, Chinese experts talking to Global Times have stated. China’s top legislature will consider a draft bill to modify the constitutional framework to protect the national security in Hong Kong, writes the expert. 

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Lamenting the move, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the White House economic adviser, Kevin Hassett indicated that the US would penalise China, including terminating the special status of Hong Kong, which would subject goods from Hong Kong to the same US tariffs as from the Chinese mainland, according to the New York Times.

Tang Fei, a member of the Council of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times that disputants in Hong Kong may push the US to advocate penalties or even remove the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 and revoke Hong Kong’s “special status” under US law.

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But Tang predicts that this move would also have a pernicious impact on the US itself with Hong Kong and American business community would voice opposition. Nevertheless, despite the negative outcomes, Washington is “very likely” to end the act.

If the US makes such a move, Hong Kong’s economic prospects will look bleak and may force Hong Kong to transform its economic structure, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The US may also issue sanction measures in its delayed report on Hong Kong’s autonomy, probably in trade matters.

Experts believe that Beijing must have taken into account US responses when making the decision of legislation and would be ready for countermeasures.

Global Criticism 

Senior foreign policy legislators and politicians including former Hong Kong governor, Chris Patten, have warned that a new Chinese security law is a “comprehensive assault” on its rights and freedoms and “cannot be tolerated”.

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The 186 signatories said they had “serious concerns” about the new laws and apprehended it would imperil the city. “The statement shows growing and widespread international outrage at the decision by Beijing to unilaterally impose national security legislation in Hong Kong,” Patten said. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo has called it a “death knell” for the city’s autonomy.

This is the most dangerous threat to the people of Hong Kong from Beijing since 1997, said Malcolm Rifkind, the former UK foreign secretary and one of the statement’s signatories. “The people of Hong Kong need, and deserve, our support.”

It is the legitimate objections of ordinary citizens that are prompting protests. Draconian laws will only deteriorate the situation further, endangering Hong Kong’s future as an open Chinese international city,” the statement said.