In the wake of Beijing's imposition of a new national security law on Hong Kong, President Trump announced this week he is stripping Hong Kong of its special trading status. His executive order said that he determined Hong Kong was "no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment" from the Chinese mainland. The White House decision will affect Hong Kong passport holders who visit the U.S. visa-free, and sanctions will also be imposed on individuals and banks accused of undermining Hong Kong's autonomy. The U.S. will apply the same punitive tariffs on Hong Kong exports as it imposes on mainland China, but is unclear to what extent the trade relationship will suffer. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the decision "maliciously denigrates Hong Kong's national security legislation," while the city's government termed the new restrictions "hypocritical."
The U.S. government is also reportedly mulling over a ban on members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families from entering the United States – a move that could affect as many as 270 million Chinese citizens. One academic suggested the plan would "inflame public opinion in China, as this would target nearly 10 percent of the entire Chinese population and would do so based on blanket assertions of guilt." On the same day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would issue a travel ban on Huawei employees. He described the firm as an "arm of the CCP's surveillance state," continuing to tow the Trump Administration's recent line on Chinese technology such as WeChat and TikTok. Chinese officials have yet to respond to the potential plans. For more on the evolving nature of the U.S.-China relationship, read "Globalization and Managing a Cooperative Rivalry" from Joseph Nye, former Dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
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.