US To Start Eliminating Special Treatment For Hong Kong, Says Trump

31 Mai, 2020, 05:52 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping

In some of his toughest rhetoric yet, Trump said Beijing had broken its word over Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy from Beijing, by proposing the national security legislation and that the territory no longer warranted us economic privileges.

President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will take steps to revoke special treatment of Hong Kong over Beijing's perceived moves to erode the territory's freedoms, while cutting ties with what he calls the "China-centric" World Health Organization.

While countries like the UK, Canada and Australia have publicly expressed their concerns, the US has upped the ante with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifying to the US Congress that "no reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground" and that the new security law was "only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms".

Hong Kong's fate has produced rare bipartisan support in Washington with lawmakers a year ago passing a bill punishing China.

Capital Economics said short-term economic damage to Hong Kong "would be manageable" if the USA rescinded trade privileges.

Tong, now at the Asia Group, is a leading expert in East Asian affairs.

Hong Kong riot police fire tear gas as hundreds of protesters march along a downtown street during a pro-democracy protest against Beijing's national security legislation in Hong Kong, Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Edited excerpts from the interview follow.

So, let's go through what the president announced.

Taiwan's parliament has backed a plan to offer sanctuary to people who want to flee Hong Kong, but China - which considers Taiwan to be part of its own territory - has warned the island not to get involved. It's nearly like a trap that the USA and Washington are stepping into, hurting its own interests by weakening Hong Kong.

Q: What do you expect China's reaction will be?

He noted that the USA contributes about $450 million United States to the world body while China provides about $40 million. They will use it for their propaganda.

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Regarding [halting] visas for Chinese students, I would expect China to specifically retaliate in the same category, on Americans' access to China.

The President announced he would be ending U.S. support during a press briefing this past Friday, citing the WHO's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Q: What is Trump's intention?

President Trump speaks from the Rose Garden on Friday.

At a time when China is facing global pressure and indignation over its mismanagement of the initial stages of coronavirus, tightening screws on Hong Kong gives Xi Jinping a nationalistic boost and potentially rallies the nation around the flag. China had an opportunity not to make this mistake. And so they caused the problem by making those mistakes in the treatment of Hong Kong.

The thing that surprised me was the decision to impose the law going around the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

As a result, many countries, including the United States, brought in laws that allowed them to treat Hong Kong as a separate trade entity to the authoritarian and economically restrictive mainland. That's also very aggressive and also very counterproductive.

"China has replaced its promised formula of one country, two systems, with one country, one system", he said.

And the distinctions between China and Hong Kong are being eliminated by China. It's too bad and ultimately it could lead to Hong Kong no longer being as useful for China.

China has been the top source of foreign students to the United States for the past decade with almost 370,000 Chinese at U.S. universities, although Trump's order will not directly affect undergraduates.

"The WHO is the world's early warning system for infectious diseases", said U.S. Representative Nita Lowey, a Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations.

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