Over the past two weeks, the world has watched as the Chinese Communist Party smothers Hong Kong’s freedom. In 1984, China promised the United Kingdom and the Hong Kong people in front of the world that it would keep Hong Kong free and open and maintain its high degree of autonomy until the year 2047. With the draconian national security legislation that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong, which allows mainland China’s security services to operate with impunity in Hong Kong, China has broken that promise, as it has so many others.
Last night, the President responded, including by taking steps to end U.S. preferential treatment for Hong Kong, terminate the territory’s benefits with regard to U.S. export controls, and direct the initiation of steps to suspend our extradition agreement with Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act will give the Administration additional tools to promote accountability for those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedoms. The President also directed the Administration to place a special focus on the admission of Hong Kong residents as refugees based on humanitarian concerns, demonstrating the enduring U.S. commitment to stand with the oppressed.
July 1 was a sad day for a territory whose autonomy and history of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms have allowed it to flourish, but Beijing’s actions have left us with no choice.