Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, said Hong Kong did not justify the preferential status granted to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997 under a supposedly one country, two systems model. guarantee a certain amount. autonomy for five decades.
“Over the past year. . . China has continued to dismantle Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, in violation of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law, ”Blinken said. annual determination at Congress required by Hong Kong Politics Act.
Last year, Donald Trump became the first US President to declare Hong Kong to be is no longer sufficiently autonomous from China to deserve special status, including commercial privileges. Earlier this month, the UK said China was violating the 1984 declaration.
China last year imposed a draconian national security law in an effort to suppress the activities of democracy activists. The passage of the law, which was introduced without consideration by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing legislature, paved the way for the arrests of dozens of activists, including Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow.
Earlier this month, China took more steps to gut the lack of democracy enjoyed by the financial hub’s 7 million residents by drastically reducing the number of lawmakers directly elected to the legislature by the people. At the time, President Joe Biden’s administration called the move “direct attackOn autonomy in Hong Kong.
Kurt Tong, a former US consul general in Hong Kong, said given what had happened since the last report just under a year ago, it would have been surprising if Biden had not done so. recertification to Congress.
“But the negative conclusion of the report cannot trigger any further action,” said Tong, now a partner of The Asia Group, a consultancy firm. “President Trump already took steps last July to ‘normalize’ US relations with Hong Kong in accordance with what was envisioned under the Hong Kong Policy Act.”
But he said the United States will remain “stubborn” in stressing that China is not fulfilling its obligations under the Sino-British joint statement.
Blinken said China and Hong Kong had taken multiple steps that justified the decision, including arbitrary arrests and politically motivated prosecutions, in addition to putting pressure on the judiciary and the media.
“I pledge to continue to work with Congress and our allies and partners around the world to support the people of Hong Kong against [China’s] blatant policies and actions, ”added Blinken.
The United States’ determination on Hong Kong is the latest of several examples that show the Biden administration taking a much tougher approach on China than many foreign policy experts anticipated.
While Biden has emphasized the need to work with allies – a difference from the Trump administration – he has took a hard line all over Hong Kong and Taiwan China’s human rights violations against Uyghurs, which its administration formally qualified as “genocide“.
To follow Demetri Sevastopulo on Twitter