US ends defense exports to Hong Kong over China's national security law

US ends defense exports to Hong Kong over China's national security law
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Amazon backtracks, says email asking employees to delete TikTok was sent in error Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report MORE on Monday announced the U.S. will end its agreement allowing export to Hong Kong of defense equipment and will impose restrictions on dual-use technology typically allowed in the semi-autonomous territory.

The move by the Trump administration comes in response to Beijing pushing forward on national security legislation for Hong Kong, saying the proposed law violates the territory’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” agreed with the signing of the Sino-British declaration in 1984.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to eviscerate Hong Kong’s freedoms has forced the Trump Administration to re-evaluate its policies toward the territory,” Pompeo said in a statement.

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“As Beijing moves forward with passing the national security law, the United States will today end exports of U.S.-origin defense equipment and will take steps toward imposing the same restrictions on U.S. defense and dual-use technologies to Hong Kong as it does for China.”

The secretary said “it gives us no pleasure to take this action,” but that the administration was “forced” to take this decision to protect U.S. national security.

“We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China. We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People’s Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the CCP by any means necessary,” he said.

The latest restrictions follow the administration’s announcement last week to impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials that are found to be involved in Beijing’s efforts to exert more control over Hong Kong. 

The actions are in response to Beijing’s expected passage of a National Security Law against Hong Kong, that critics say criminalize vague acts of treason, secession and terrorism.

The U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, the E.U. and Japan have all spoken out against the national security law.

Amnesty International warned on Sunday that the national security law for Hong Kong “will put everybody in the city at risk of arbitrary detention and unfair trial” unless it is underpinned by guarantees to protect human rights. 

The Chinese government is expected to finalize the text of the law during the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislature, and is set to conclude on Tuesday.