The Trump administration on Wednesday suspended or terminated three agreements with Hong Kong covering extradition and tax exemptions, the latest in a series of U.S. moves in response to China’s imposition of strict national security laws over the former British territory.
“The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted.
The Chinese Communist Party chose to crush the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong. Because of the CCP’s actions, we are terminating or suspending three of our bilateral agreements with the territory.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 19, 2020
President Donald Trump already had determined that Hong Kong was no longer eligible for the continued preferential treatment it enjoyed from the U.S.
“These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the National Security Law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
She said Hong Kong authorities had been notified earlier Wednesday of the decisions that were the result of the Chinese Communist Party’s “drastic steps to erode the high degree of autonomy that Beijing itself promised” to Hong Kong.
Other Western nations have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong as well.
The Trump administration has already acted to end special trade and commercial privileges that Hong Kong had enjoyed and has imposed sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials involved in enforcing the new security law, including Hong Kong’s pro-China leader Carrie Lam.
Beijing had promised Hong Kong 50 years of a “one-country, two-systems” arrangement after the 1997 handover. The city enjoyed Western-style civil liberties, such as the right to public dissent, that are rarely allowed on the Chinese mainland and are now strictly limited.
“President Trump has made clear that the United States will, therefore, treat Hong Kong as ‘one country, one system’ and take action against individuals who have crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” Ortagus said in the statement.
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