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Pompeo: Hong Kong is no longer autonomous

DThe United States claims that it has unsuccessfully requested a session of the UN Security Council on Chinese plans for a controversial security law for Hong Kong. China has denied such a meeting, diplomatic circles said at the UN headquarters in New York. The United States mission to the United Nations said the United States was “deeply concerned” about the security law, which “significantly undermines autonomy and freedoms in Hong Kong.”

A bill for the law to ban “separatism” and “turmoil” in the Special Administrative Region is expected to be adopted on Thursday at the plenary session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing. The bill is a reaction to the months-long mass protests by the Hong Kong democracy movement last year. The Beijing plans have triggered new protests in Hong Kong in the past few days, which have resulted in violent confrontations with the police.

The US Secretary of State also said on Wednesday that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from Beijing. The granting of a special status to the financial metropolis was no longer appropriate. “While the United States once hoped that a free and prosperous Hong Kong could set an example for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is shaping Hong Kong to its own example,” said Pompeo. “Today, given the local situation, no sensible person can say that Hong Kong still maintains a high degree of autonomy from China,” Pompeo wrote to Congress in a legally required report. Once a year, the State Department has to report to Congress on whether Hong Kong is still autonomous. However, Pompeo’s statements have no direct consequences. These have to be drawn by President Trump and the Parliament.

The Chinese special administrative region of Hong Kong has enjoyed special legal status to date, which is of great importance for businesses and citizens of the metropolis. For example, the US punitive tariffs imposed on China have so far not applied to imports from Hong Kong. The importance of the Hong Kong financial center – which is also very important for communist China – could be at risk.

The US government had recently expressed concern about Beijing’s planned restrictive security laws for Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States saw the future of Hong Kong as a financial center at risk from China’s plans. The former British crown colony has been managed largely autonomously since it was returned to China in 1997 according to the “one country, two systems” principle. Recently, however, Beijing has increasingly interfered in Hong Kong’s freedoms.

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