The Trump administration announced it would end a variety of special agreements the U.S. holds with Hong Kong on Friday. The decision comes after China moved to impose a sweeping new security law on Hong Kong this week, sparking international alarm.
Nominal ownership of the former British colony was ceded over to the Chinese communist regime in 1997 as part of an aspirational agreement that would see the territory remain autonomous and free for at least another 50 years, but in the words of President Donald Trump on Friday, the Chinese government “broke their word to the world on ensuring the autonomy of Hong Kong.”
Along with the removal of the special status and policy exemptions previously enjoyed by Hong Kong, certain government officials allied with the Chinese communist regime could find themselves subjected to U.S. economic sanctions, the Washington Examiner reported.
No longer autonomous
President Trump announced the dramatic change in policy in an event in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, where he chastised the Chinese communist regime for its deceitful behavior both in terms of international trade and the global coronavirus pandemic that began within its own territory.
As part of an even tougher stance toward the communist regime, Trump said, “Several of the most significant actions we’re taking pertain to the deeply troubling situations unfolding in Hong Kong.”
“This week, China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong security,” he continued, noting that China had violated its agreement with the United Kingdom and Hong Kong that still had 27 years remaining. “The Chinese government’s move against Hong Kong is the latest in a series of measures that are diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status.”
“This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China, and indeed the people of the world,” the president lamented. “China claims it is protecting national security. But the truth is that Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that. It extends the reach of China’s invasive state security apparatus into what was formerly a bastion of liberty.”
No more special treatment
Given how China’s actions have rendered Hong Kong “no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment” it previously received — indeed, Trump noted that “promised formula of ‘one country, two systems'” has now been replaced by “‘one country, one system'” — it has become clear that all prior bets were off.
Those changes include an end to the extradition treaty as well as a trade agreement on dual-use technologies.
Also, in light of China’s invasive surveillance state apparatus, the State Department will issue a travel advisory against Hong Kong and it will no longer be exempt from customs and export controls imposed on the rest of China.
Furthermore, economic sanctions may soon be imposed on Chinese and Hong Kong officials that are deemed to be “directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy” and “smothering” the territory’s freedom.
This is a sad and disappointing day for anyone who cherishes freedom, especially for those who’d retained hope that Hong Kong would continue to be a small “bastion of liberty” in the shadow of communist China.