The US administration late Monday limited the export of sensitive American technology to Hong Kong and effectively revoked the special status of the former British colony hours before lawmakers in Beijing reportedly approved a national security law for China’s semi-autonomous region.
“Today, the U.S. is suspending regulations affording preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China. The @realDonaldTrump Administration urges Beijing to immediately reverse course & fulfill the promises it has made to the people of Hong Kong & the world,” US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced.
“With the Chinese Communist Party’s imposition of new security measures on Hong Kong, the risk that sensitive U.S. technology will be diverted to the People’s Liberation Army or Ministry of State Security has increased, all while undermining the territory’s autonomy,” he said in a statement.
“Those are risks the U.S. refuses to accept and have resulted in the revocation of Hong Kong’s special status.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also said the US will now treat Hong Kong differently.
“Today, the United States is ending exports of @StateDeptPM controlled U.S. origin defense equipment and sensitive @CommerceGov controlled dual-use technologies to Hong Kong,” he said on Twitter.
“If Beijing now treats Hong Kong as “One Country, One System,” so must we,” he added.
The move by the Trump administration to revoke Hong Kong’s special trading status might have effects on Hong Kong’s future as Asia’s top financial and business hub.
China on Monday announced visa restrictions on US officials who “behave egregiously” in relation to Hong Kong affairs, days after Washington announced similar restrictions on Chinese officials believed to be undermining freedoms in the Asian financial hub.
– Meddling in ‘internal affairs’
Urging the US to stop reviewing or implementing any Hong Kong-related acts, China said: “Any effort by the US to hinder Beijing’s introduction of a national security law in Hong Kong would not succeed.”
Last month, China’s National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislative body, approved a new national security bill for Hong Kong to tackle “anti-national” activities after months of protests last year.
The legislation would make it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority in Hong Kong.
After the National People’s Congress first approved the drafting of the security legislation last month Trump said that the U.S. would begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions for Hong Kong, including export controls on dual-use technologies.
Intelligence allies of the US, — the UK, Australia and Canada — have expressed deep concern, saying the law could be used to stifle dissent.
The semi-autonomous region became a part of China in 1997. It witnessed large-scale protests last year against a move to legalize extradition of accused persons to mainland China.
Beijing rejects the criticism, warning all parties to refrain from meddling in its “internal affairs.”
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