Donald Trump cuts US ties with Hong Kong over Chinese government 'smothering'by Jimmy McCloskey
Donald Trump has dramatically cut all diplomatic ties between the United States and Hong Kong over what he called China’s ‘smothering’ of the region’s autonomy.
Speaking outside the White House on Friday, Trump launched a scathing attack on China for ignoring an agreement established with the United Kingdom in 1984, when Hong Kong was still a British territory.
That agreement saw Great Britain return control of Hong Kong to China in 1997, in return for guarantees that the former colony would retain its autonomy and democratic way of life.
Trump accused China’s communist government of stepping up surveillance on the people of Hong Kong, and said the party’s behavior meant Hong Kong could no longer enjoy the special treatment it receives from the US.
Trump said: ‘The United States will be eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment (to the rest of China)…
‘We will be revising the state department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect the increased danger of surveillance and punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus.
‘We will take action to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China smothering Hong Kong’s freedom.’
The region’s current autonomy has helped it become one of the world’s financial powerhouses, with President Trump speaking amid fears China’s attempts at tightening its grip on Hong Kong could tank its economy.
President Trump spoke moments after announcing that the United States was defunding the UN-backed World Health Organization (WHO) after accusing bosses there of allowing the Chinese government to cover-up the coronavirus outbreak.
He hit out at China’s power-grab in Hong Kong, saying: ‘This week China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong security. This was plain violation of Beijing’s treaty obligations with the United Kingdom in the declaration of 1984 and explicit provisions of Hong Kong’s basic law. (The China-UK agreement) has 27 years to go.
‘The Chinese government’s move against Hong Kong is the latest in a series of measures that are diminishing the city’s longstanding and very proud status.
‘This is a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong, the people of China and indeed the people of the world. China claims it is protecting national security but the truth is that Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society.
‘Beijing’s decision reverses all of that. It extends the reach of China’s state security apparatus into what was formerly a bastion of liberty.
‘China’s latest incursion as long as other recent developments make clear that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover. China has replaced its promised formula of one country two systems.’
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