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On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially declared Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from mainland Chinese rule.
Pompeo announced the decision to no longer recognize Hong Kong’s autonomous status in a State Department press release. He made the decision after what he described as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) National People’s Congress decision to “unilaterally and arbitrarily” impose national security legislation on territory.
“Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong,” Pompeo tweeted.
Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 27, 2020
“The State Department is required by the Hong Kong Policy Act to assess the autonomy of the territory from China. After careful study of developments over the reporting period, I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997,” Pompeo said in his statement. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”
“Hong Kong and its dynamic, enterprising, and free people have flourished for decades as a bastion of liberty, and this decision gives me no pleasure,” Pompeo said in his Wednesday statement. “But sound policy making requires a recognition of reality. While the United States once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong as they struggle against the CCP’s increasing denial of the autonomy that they were promised.”
While Hong Kong is a Chinese territory, it was signed over to China by the British government in 1997 under the understanding that it would retain a level of autonomy.
With the declaration that Hong Kong no longer holds autonomy from mainland Chinese rule, could lose out on financial advantages that came with its economic separation from China. In a recent interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the U.S. would likely impose the same sanctions on the once autonomous Hong Kong that have, until now only applied to the mainland.
Hong Kong has previously been a financial hub. O’Brien said the Chinese economy is reliant on Hong Kong’s success as a financial market for its overall economic success.
“I hope they’ll take that into account as they contemplate their next step,” O’Brien said.
In recent days, protesters in Hong Kong have also increased demonstrations in opposition to the expanding mainland Chinese rule.
Mass protests movements in the territory had persisted for months in 2019, but had appeared to subside to a degree amid the global coronavirus outbreak, which began around the start of the new year. Protests have increased once again following a renewed push by the mainland Chinese government for increased control over the territory.