In addition to ending the special trade status for Hong Kong, United States president Donald Trump also signed an executive order to impose stricter sanctions targeting Chinese businesses and officials in reaction to the new Chinese national security law being imposed in Hong Kong at the beginning of this month.
While condemning the move, China has also threatened to retaliate.
All preferential trade ties between Hong Kong and the United States was ended through the executive order of Trump. Trump also signed a law that seeks to impose sanctions on Chinese officials, businesses and banks that play any part in the efforts of Chinese authorities to reduce democracy and autonomy of Hong Kong.
The law had been passed with bipartisan support in Congress earlier this month.
From now on, Hong Kong will be treated the same as mainland China — “no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies,” Trump said during a news conference held in the White House Rose Garden.
“Their freedom has been taken away; their rights have been taken away. And with it goes Hong Kong, in my opinion, because it will no longer be able to compete with free markets. A lot of people will be leaving Hong Kong,” he added.
One of the elements of the new executive order includes blocking the US property of any individual or organization that the US authorities determine to have any role or be complicit in “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Hong Kong”. US officials can “revoke license exceptions for exports to Hong Kong” stated a document released by the White House also states US officials. The previously accorded special treatment for Hong Kong passport holders was also revoked through the new order.
According to the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, this island city was treated as in a different manner than the Chinese mainland with respect to trade, commerce and other areas by the United States. Hong Kong is identified as a semi-autonomous part of China with its own legal and economic system.
It has been alleged that the national security law of China that was imposed on Hong Kong is aimed at restricting political dissent in Hong Kong and the bipartisan support for the legislation in the US was aimed to prevent that from happening. Analysts also view this more by Trump as part of his strategic offensive against the Chinese government – which has been openly, repeatedly and severely criticized by Trump of mishandling the novel coronavirus crisis and allowing it to spread all around the world.
While criticizing the US sanctions legislation, China said in statement that the Trump move “maliciously slanders” the national security law that has been imposed in Hong Kong. “China will make necessary responses to protect its legitimate interests, and impose sanctions on relevant US personnel and entities,” the Foreign Ministry said.
(Adapted from DW.com)