President Trump announced Friday that the United States will be revoking Hong Kong's special status as an autonomous entity, accusing China of eroding the autonomy of Hong Kong after Beijing attempted to push through a new security law for the Asian financial hub. While Trump did not provide details about precisely which steps would be taken or in what order, the U.S. will move to end Hong Kong's special privileges, which include international extradition, customs, trade, and visa exchange, effectively treating Hong Kong the same as a mainland Chinese city. During the President's ten-minute press conference— in which he took no questions from the press— Trump also announced that the U.S. would be "terminating" its relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting it's $450 million WHO funding to other international health groups.
Trump's sweeping decision comes after the National People's Congress on Thursday nearly unanimously approved a resolution to draft a security law intended to suppress subversion, secession, terrorism, and any other acts that threaten "national security." The move, which is expected to go into effect in September, has drawn international condemnation and concern that it may lead to a crackdown on activist groups, as well as freedom of speech and assembly. Expressing "deep concern" over the bill, Britain's Foreign and Home Office Secretaries have said that three million Hong Kong residents may be able to gain British citizenship if the law passes, stating that "the new security law will undermine the existing legal commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people." These concerns have been dismissed by Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as well as by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who said the law "does not affect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents. There is no need for concern."
A statement by an official from the Hong Kong government said, "In the Hong Kong-U.S. relationship, any sanctions are a double-edged sword that will not only harm the interests of Hong Kong but also significantly those of the U.S."
Prepared by China-US Focus editorial teams in Hong Kong and New York, this weekly newsletter offers you snap shots of latest trends and developments emerging from China every week, while adding a dose of historical perspective.