Hong Kong ‘now not autonomous from China’ – Pompeo

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Media captionPolice arrested dozens of individuals in Causeway Bay

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has licensed to Congress that Hong Kong now not deserves particular remedy beneath US regulation.

The declaration may have far-reaching implications for US-Hong Kong commerce.

“No cheap individual can assert as we speak that Hong Kong maintains a excessive diploma of autonomy from China, given information on the bottom,” he mentioned in an announcement.

It comes hours earlier than Beijing is anticipated to impose a controversial new safety regulation on the territory.

The safety regulation was “solely the most recent in a collection of actions that essentially undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms,” Mr Pompeo mentioned.

“It’s now clear that China is modelling Hong Kong after itself,” he added.

Hong Kong police have arrested hundreds of people amid new anti-mainland unrest.

What’s the significance of Pompeo’s assertion?

Till now the US has given Hong Kong – a world monetary and buying and selling hub – particular standing beneath US regulation. The supply dates from when the territory was a British colony and offers it beneficial buying and selling phrases.

However since final 12 months this standing has been conditional on the US secretary of state frequently certifying that Hong Kong maintains ample autonomy from mainland China.

If the secretary of state fails to certify this, the US Congress can revoke Hong Kong’s particular commerce standing.

This may imply treating Hong Kong the identical as mainland China for commerce and different functions.

What impression would revoking standing have?

It may jeopardise billions of {dollars} price of commerce between Hong Kong and the US and will dissuade folks from investing there sooner or later.

It might additionally damage mainland China, which makes use of Hong Kong as a sort of intermediary for transactions with the remainder of the world. Mainland corporations and multinational companies use the territory as a global or regional base.

Moreover, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, handed by the US final 12 months, permits sanctions towards officers liable for human rights violations in Hong Kong. The sanctions embrace visa bans and asset freezes.

Shortly after Mr Pompeo’s declaration, outstanding pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong referred to as on US, European and Asian leaders to rethink Hong Kong’s particular standing.

Beijing’s safety regulation would create “large injury to expats and buyers in Hong Kong”, he mentioned, and sustaining autonomy was the “solely approach” to guard enterprise.

What’s Beijing’s safety regulation about?

Beijing has proposed imposing it in Hong Kong.

It might ban treason, secession, sedition and subversion and China says it’s wanted to fight violent protests which have grown within the territory.

The anti-mainland sentiment was fuelled final 12 months by a proposed – and later scrapped – invoice that might have allowed legal suspects to be extradited to China.

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Protesters within the metropolis’s Mong Kok district on Wednesday

Critics say the safety regulation is a direct try and curtail the freedoms given Hong Kong within the mini-constitution that was agreed when sovereignty was handed again to China in 1997.

Hong Kong’s Chief Government Carrie Lam has denied that the regulation, which is ready to go to a vote this week and might be in drive as early as the top of June, will curtail the rights of Hong Kong residents.

A bunch of 200 senior politicians from around the globe have issued a joint assertion criticising China’s plan.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump mentioned the US would announce a “very highly effective” response to the proposed laws earlier than the top of the week. China’s plans had already been condemned by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who described them as a “dying knell” for the town’s freedoms.

The UK, Australia and Canada have additionally expressed their “deep concern”.

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Media captionHong Kongers give their response to the controversial nationwide safety regulation being deliberate

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