The US President Donald Trump has just signed legislation scrapping the 1997 United States Hong Kong policy act (first agreed in 1984 when HongKong was under the British authority), that seizes Hong Kong’s separate status from mainland China in terms of bilateral trade relationship with the US.
“Today I signed legislation and an executive order to hold China accountable for its oppressive actions against the people of Hong kong.”
– President Donald Trump said in a media briefing.
“The Hong Kong autonomy act which I signed this afternoon was passed unanimously through Congress,” he also mentioned. Trump revoking the act means Hong Kong will no longer be exempted from tariffs applicable to China.
“This law gives my administration powerful new tools to hold responsible, the individuals and entities involved in extinguishing Hong kong’s freedom,” Trump said in White House Rose Garden briefing.
HongKong officially called the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR), is China’s special administrative region, which has for a long enjoyed certain special economic privileges with the US, in terms of trade, which was not applicable to mainland China.
Hong Kong also held special autonomous status, which made laws inapplicable in the metropolitan region that is applicable in China. However, China, on June 30th passed a controversial law hailing it will return stability, but critics have pointed out it is essentially meant to curtail freedom of speech and protests.
The BBC noted China’s legislation is the most sweeping law passed in the special administrative region since the city was handed back to China by Britain.
“No special privileges [for Hong Kong], no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies,” said the US president. “No administration has been tougher on China then this administration.”
“We imposed historic tariffs, vested up to China’s intellectual property at a level that nobody has ever come close. He confronted untrustworthy Chinese technology and telecom providers,” he said, referring Huawei, which the US brand a tool of Beijing, and pushes it’s trade partners.
The US-China relationship has considerably strained in recent months over a myriad of matters, especially the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Hong Kong sanctions bill: China vows to retaliate after Trump scrapped HK’s special economic status
“I want everyone to know, every citizen to know, that we are using the full power of the federal government, to fight the China virus and keep our people safe,” Trump said. “Through Operation Warp Speed, we will deliver a vaccine in record-breaking time.”
China has vowed to retaliate what they’re calling “gross interference” by the US in domestic affairs, the BBC reports. China’s foreign relations officer issued a strongly-worded statement, reading:
“The US attempt to obstruct the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong will never succeed. We urge the US side to correct its mistakes, refrain from implementing the act and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any way. China will firmly respond if the US goes ahead.”