What Chinese crackdown means for Hong Kong's autonomy

Joanna Estrada
May 30, 2020

China's plan to impose a new security law on Hong Kong puts it in direct violation of its global commitments, the United States and its allies - the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia - have said.

"Beijing's recent actions threaten Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and implicate worldwide peace & security", and "contradict" its obligations under the Sino-British agreement which is registered at the United Nations, she said.

More than 1,300 United States companies have offices in Hong Kong, providing about 100,000 jobs.

The law will alter Hong Kong's mini-constitution, or Basic Law, to require the territory to enforce measures to be decided by the NPC's standing committee, a small body controlled by the governing party that handles most legislative work.

"The law does nothing to build mutual understanding and foster reconciliation within Hong Kong", they said.

The statement was jointly issued by Alliance for China's Peaceful Reunification, along with around two dozen US -based organizations who support China's reunification.

While the Floyd case was not mentioned in Tweets and statements issued by both sides after the council discussion, the issues the US and Chinese ambassadors raised were.

The president did not take questions after his remarks.

"The improvements of the current legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) at the state level is legitimate and imperative to safeguard China's national sovereignty and security".

The sanctions come as the two heavyweights head into a risky escalation, both vying to gain an upper hand in the post-coronavirus world order.

China says the legislation will aim to tackle secession, subversion, "terrorism" and foreign interference in the city but the plan, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big protests in Hong Kong for months.

Trump, who has complained for weeks about the World Trade Organization as the virus death toll surged in the United States, said the global health body failed to adequately respond to the outbreak because China has "total control" over the global organization.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 360 points on Friday afternoon ahead of Trump's news conference, reckoning an escalation of tensions between the US and China. His testimony was a step toward rolling back trade privileges the city receives from the U.S.

Devising sanctions to deter Beijing from further curtailing freedoms in Hong Kong has been a delicate matter for Washington, as moves considered to have the most effect against Beijing would also hurt the interests of Hong Kong and the USA, which benefits from the city's status as a financial hub.

The US and allies said they were "extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society".

Russia's deputy United Nations ambassador Dmitry Polyansky tweeted that Washington and London's "awkward move was not supported by clear majority of council members", adding that "divisive, biased issues which have nothing to do with intl peace & security shouldn't be brought up" in the council.

"There is one rogue state in the world, and humanity would be better off if it terminated its relationship with existence", said journalist Ajit Singh in terse response to Trump's announcement.

In Beijing, Zhao called the moves "utter nonsense" and accused the USA of "making trouble out of nothing".

He said the the duty of the Security Council is to safeguard global peace and stability, and the national security legislation for Hong Kong "is not within the purview of the responsibilities" of the council.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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