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Trump announces he’s signed Hong Kong Autonomy Act – here’s what it does

President Donald J. Trump displays his signature after signing a joint declaration Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
July 14, 2020

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he signed a bill to hold China accountable for actions in Hong Kong and an executive order to end preferential treatment for Hong Kong.

Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, a bill passed in the House on July 1 and Senate on July 2, which mandates the president impose sanctions on individuals and entities who contribute to China’s effort to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“This law gives my administration powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals and the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom,” Trump said. “Their freedom has been taken away. Their rights have been taken away, and with it goes Hong Kong in my opinion because it will no longer be able to compete with free markets. A lot of people will be leaving Hong Kong, I suspect.”

The order imposes “property-blocking sanctions” and “visa-blocking sanctions” on individuals and entities, and bars such individuals and entities from receiving loans from U.S. banks.

Additionally, Trump’s executive order ends preferential treatment for Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” Trump said. “No special privileges, no special economic treatments, and no export of sensitive technologies.”

Trump went on to slam China’s actions, including its treatment toward the U.S., and said no country has “ripped off” the U.S. the way China has. He confirmed trade talks with China had stopped altogether, noting he had not spoken to Chinese leader Xi Jinping and has no intention to.

“Joe Biden and President Obama freely allowed China to pillage our factories, plunder our communities and steal our most precious secrets,” Trump said, adding, “I’ve stopped it largely.”

Trump also took aim at Democrats for efforts to reduce funding to the U.S. military when China is ramping up its own military.