Pompeo slams China over Hong Kong national security law

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday condemned China for approving controversial national security legislation that critics say will further strip Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Pompeo said in a statement that the U.S. would not “stand idly by” while Beijing places the semi-autonomous territory into its “authoritarian maw.”

“The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to impose draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements,” Pompeo said.

“Hong Kong demonstrated to the world what a free Chinese people could achieve – one of the most successful economies and vibrant societies in the world. But Beijing’s paranoia and fear of its own people’s aspirations have led it to eviscerate the very foundation of the territory’s success, turning ‘One Country, Two Systems’ into ‘One Country, One System,'” he added.

The law, approved by China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, will reportedly criminalize foreign interference, subversion and secession. President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order promulgating the law shortly after the panel passed it.

The legislation has been at the center of anti-government protests in Hong Kong for months, with activists calling the law an attempt to rein in autonomy granted under the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong. Critics worry that the law could be used to stifle dissent.

Pompeo had previously said that Hong Kong would no longer be subject to special trade terms granted due to the “one country, two systems” arrangement. The Trump administration also last week imposed visa restrictions on CCP officials that Pompeo said were “responsible for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.” 

The administration has not named the individuals being hit with the sanctions. 

“We are ending defense and dual-use technology exports to the territory,” he added. “Per President Trump’s instruction, we will eliminate policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment, with few exceptions.”

China on Monday responded to the U.S. visa restrictions by imposing visa restrictions of its own on certain Americans.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said the restrictions would apply to individuals who have committed “egregious conduct relating to Hong Kong.”

The official also added that U.S. attempts to “obstruct China’s legislation for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong” would “not succeed.” 

“The national security law for Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affairs and foreign countries have no right to interfere,” Zhao said, according to CNN.

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pompeo
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