With China imposing its draconian security law in Hong Kong in violation of a prior agreement, on Monday the Trump Administration began taking steps to eliminate Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law; it is also halting defense exports and restricting the territory’s access to high technology U.S. products.
In a statement the Commerce Department stated, it was suspending “preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export license exceptions,” and added further actions to eliminate Hong Kong’s privileged status were being evaluated.
“We urge Beijing to immediately reverse course and fulfill the promises it has made to the people of Hong Kong and the world,” said the U.S. Commerce Department.
China’s top decision-making body, its so-called parliament has allowed the imposition of the law in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy activists fear, it will be used to eliminate dissent and tighten Beijing’s control over the island.
“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,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
He went on to add, “The United States is forced to take this action to protect U.S. national security. We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China”.
The development comes at a time when there is growing anger among countries against China. According to U.S. opinion polls, voters are showing increasingly embitterment toward China, including over the source coronavirus. The coronavirus was first reported in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.
According to analysts, completely ending Hong Kong’s special treatment could prove self-defeating for the United States, since it benefits from the territory’s business-friendly conditions. This naturally means that these services will have to be relocated, much like what is happening in the manufacturing sector in China.