US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is ending trade preferences for Hong Kong and has passed a law authorizing sanctions on banks following China’s crackdown on the international financial center.
At a discursive press conference dominated by attacks on his national rivals, Trump declared himself to be the toughest president of China, who established himself as the main enemy of the November elections.
Trump has announced that he has issued an executive order, which was not immediately published, on Hong Kong because it foresees the decline of the hectic city, on which Beijing recently imposed a strict new security law.
“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China – no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies,” Trump said at the White Garden Rose Garden.
“Their freedom has been taken away; their rights have been taken away,” added Trump.
“And with that goes Hong Kong, in my opinion, because it will no longer be able to compete with the free markets. Many people will leave Hong Kong.”
Trump also said he had enacted the Hong Kong autonomy law, which was quickly passed in Congress earlier this month as Beijing was advancing the security law.
New US law authorizes sanctions against Chinese authorities and Hong Kong police who are seen as undermining the city’s autonomy – and, most importantly, banks that transact with them.
Lawmakers hope the new law will force all Chinese banks except the provinces to choose between encouraging Beijing’s efforts in Hong Kong and being able to trade in US dollars and operate in the world‘s largest economy.
“This law gives my administration powerful new tools to hold accountable the individuals and entities involved in the extinction of Hong Kong’s freedom,” said Trump.
– “Quick reproach” –
In a statement, the White House acknowledged its concern that the Hong Kong autonomy law, a more stringent follow-up to last year’s law, limits the president’s leeway to lift sanctions.
But the act received overwhelming bipartisan support, which means that Congress could probably prevail over any veto.
“Today, the United States has made it clear to China that it cannot continue its attack on freedom and human rights in Hong Kong without serious repercussions,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen. , a Democrat who led the law alongside Republican Pat Toomey.
“The Chinese government’s aggression deserves this quick rebuke,” he said.
Beijing has defied international warnings by imposing security law that criminalizes subversion and other offenses in Hong Kong, which it promised autonomy before Britain returned to the country in 1997.
The law has thrilled the financial center, which last year saw massive and sometimes destructive demonstrations in favor of democracy.
China quickly took advantage of the law, warning on Monday that one of the main pro-democracy parties in which 600,000 Hong Kong people participated was “serious provocation”.
Earlier on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised the primary and called for the Hong Kong legislative elections scheduled for September to be “also free and fair.”
Trump has stepped up pressure on China on several fronts, particularly the coronavirus pandemic, the news of which Beijing suppressed when the disease first appeared in Wuhan.
Critics both at home and abroad accuse Trump of seeking to divert criticism from his own manipulation of COVID-19 in the United States, which has suffered by far the highest number of deaths of any country.
Pompeo also stepped up the tone of the South China Sea on Monday, which declared most of Beijing’s allegations illegal.
Last week, the Trump administration also imposed sanctions on top Chinese officials for the imprisonment of more than a million Uighurs and other Turkish Muslims.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)