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Hong Kong is losing autonomy. The US is preparing a powerful response

Beijing passes a bill that prohibits protests in this autonomy. The international community accuses China of violating international obligations.

In Hong Kong since the end of last week, thousands of protests have been held against the National Security Act, which curbs the autonomy of this former British colony from mainland China.

Other states criticized Beijing’s intention, US President Donald Trump promised in the coming days “powerful” measures against the Chinese authorities.

How China Captures Hong Kong

Great Britain returned Hong Kong to China sovereignty in 1997. Until 2047, he is guaranteed a wide degree of freedom under the formula “one country — two systems.” English remained official, guaranteed: freedom of the press, assembly, and expression.

For example, in Hong Kong, unlike the rest of the PRC, openly celebrate the anniversary of the dispersal of demonstrations in Beijing Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In 2005, Hong Kong people took to the streets demanding democratic opposition and the repeal of a number of laws by the head of the executive branch of the autonomous region, Dong Jianhua. Beijing dismissed him.

Massive protests were repeated in 2014 when the Chinese authorities wanted to curtail the autonomy of the district and obstructed the first free election of the head of the executive branch of Hong Kong. They were called the Umbrella Revolution and ended two months later with the victory of the protesters.

In 2019, in Hong Kong, all spring and summer campaigns were held against the law, which allows extraditing residents of the region to China. Every third resident of the city took part in the protests. As a result, the bill was first delayed and then recalled from parliament.

May 24, protesters returned to the streets for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Thousands of people protested against the adoption of the law, which will significantly expand the powers of the Chinese special services in the city.

The authorities refused to agree on measures because of restrictive measures on coronavirus — in Hong Kong, as in all of China, there is a ban on gathering in groups of more than eight people, so the police went out to disperse the protests with gas and water guns.

At least 120 people were detained. Since then, protests have not subsided, and law enforcement officers disperse stocks every day with tear gas and water cannons. Hundreds of people are detained daily.

On May 21, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang introduced a bill to protect national security in Hong Kong.

Among other things, the document says about the possibility of sending Chinese state security forces to this special administrative region of the PRC and punishing it for “separatism and subversive activities.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the law should enter into force “without the slightest delay,” because, according to him, months-long protests in Hong Kong showed the existence of a “serious threat to China's national security.” Beijing claims that protests are curated from the outside.

The law criminalizes:

Separatism — calls for separation from China

Undermining the power or authority of a central government


Foreign intervention

The law also gives Beijing the right to create its own special services in Hong Kong. The autonomy administration supports the law and declares that it is being adopted to fight terrorism, while civilians have nothing to fear.

In the American New York Times, we compare the actions of China in relation to Hong Kong with the annexation of Crimea in 2014. This was a violation of international law and diplomatic obligations undertaken by Russia, the newspaper said.

Today, May 28, the All-China People's Congress supported the bill. In June, the details of the document will be considered, after which it will be finally adopted by law.

The fatal blow to the economy

Opponents of the bill fear Beijing’s consolidation of power and the end of the principle of “one country — two systems.” US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on May 27 that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous with respect to China.

Last November, American leader Donald Trump signed into law to support democracy and protect human rights in Hong Kong. He obliges the State Department to report to Congress at least once a year on whether Hong Kong has a sufficient degree of autonomy.

According to AP, Pompeo’s statement paves the way for the American authorities to cancel the preferential trade and financial status that the former British colony has enjoyed for the past 23 years.

“We are doing something right now. I think it will seem very interesting to you, but I won’t talk about it today, I’ll talk about it in a couple of days,” Trump answered on May 27 when asked whether the United States will impose sanctions against China.

Later, the American president was asked if sanctions against Beijing were included in these measures. He negatively answered this question but added that “something powerful” is expected.

US Presidential National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said it’s hard to imagine that Hong Kong will be able to remain Asia’s financial center because large international companies will leave it, after which Beijing will “lose access to other countries’ capital. ”

This will probably be a fatal blow to the city’s economy, writes Minsin Pei, an American political science professor, in the column for Project Syndicate. And America will not be the only Western country to force China to pay a high price for its aggressive gambit.

For US allies who hesitated to choose a position in the unfolding Shina-American confrontation, China’s recent actions will greatly simplify the decision.

No matter how serious their doubts about plunging the world into a new cold war, they will fade into the background. China simply will not leave them any alternative but to join the anti-Chinese coalition led by the United States, the expert said.

“You can be sure that the Chinese leadership has considered all these disastrous consequences and decided that the imposition of a new security law on Hong Kong is worth all these risks. The international community must prove that this calculation was erroneous,” Pei writes.

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