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Washington: America Reversed on Wednesday HogcogThe special status, under US law, paves the way for the financial hub to be stripped of trade privileges as Washington accused China of taunting the region’s autonomy.
China’s rubber-stamp parliament was set to take an important vote on Hong Kong’s new security law, which has intensified protests, Secretary State Mike Pompeo Congress testified that Hong Kong “does not continue the treatment of war” under US laws that it has enjoyed even after handing over to China in 1997.
Under a law passed last year to support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, The US Administration Must certify that the region still enjoys the independence promised by Beijing when the colony was negotiating with Britain to withdraw.
“No reasonable person today can claim that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China,” Pompeo said in a statement.
While the administration may still waive the result, US law says Hong Kong will lose trade benefits, including lower tariffs it enjoys with the world’s largest economy.
Pompeo initially delayed the report, stating that the United States was waiting to see the session of China’s National People’s Congress.
The legislature is expected to take another step on Thursday on security legislation that would ban segregation, terrorism, and foreign intervention – a move that Hong Kong activists say erodes basic freedoms.
Pompeo said, “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 building Hong Kong.”
Referring to the Chinese Communist Party, he said that the US stands with the people of Hong Kong as a struggle against increasing the autonomy of the CCP.
Protests erupted in Hong Kong on Wednesday over another controversial proposed law that insults the national anthem with up to three years in prison.
Police surrounded the city’s legislature with waterlogged barriers and launched a massive halt-search operation to prevent mass gatherings.
Small flashmob rallies in the districts of Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Central, with the latter firing a crowd-control round, filled with pepper-based irritant.
Police said more than 300 people were arrested, mostly on suspicion of having an unlawful assembly. The live image showed several teenagers taken into custody.
The pro-democracy advocate told AFP, “It’s really curfew now.” “I think the government has to understand why people are really angry.”
“You can see that there is police in every corner, it’s like martial law in the force,” added a woman, who beaned her after the investigation.
Police said they “respected the right of residents to express their views in peace, but this must be legally met,” adding roads were blocking roads.
Public ceremonies of more than eight people are prohibited under emergency anti-coronavirus measures, although the city has stopped its outbreak.
Requests by civil society groups to hold protests have been denied by the authorities for months citing the epidemic and last year’s unrest.
Under the “one country, two systems” model agreed before Britain’s return to China from the city, Hong Kong should be guaranteed some independence by 2047 denying those on the mainland.
The deal fueled the city’s growth as a world-class financial center and gave Chinese companies an important channel to raise capital.
But in recent years, unrest has swept through the city, something Communist rulers of Beijing are determined to abolish.
Hong Kong’s legislature was blocked during last year’s protests and subsequently crushed by protesters as authorities tried to finally overturn the bill allowing extradition to the mainland.
US lawmakers have hoped that the loss of business privileges will also serve as pressure given Hong Kong’s importance to China’s economy.
But Hong Kong’s Beijing government vowed to pass the national anthem law as soon as possible.
“As Hong Kong, it is our moral responsibility to honor the national anthem,” Hong Kong’s De Facto deputy leader Matthew Cheung told reporters.
Beijing has been encouraged by Hong Kong – especially football fans – for the national anthem to signal dissatisfaction with China.
Wednesday marked the bill’s second reading and the debate is set to continue next week when it will likely be approved and become law.
Beijing portrays Hong Kong Democracy Opposes as a foreign-backed conspiracy to destabilize the motherland.
Activists say their rallies, which have been attended by millions, are the only way to voice the opposition in a city without completely free elections.
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