US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced the Chinese threat to limit visas for Americans before Beijing increased its grip on Hong Kong after reporting it had passed a security law that critics say undermines the judicial independence of the territory semi-autonomous.
FOX BUSINESS: US END OF HONG KONG SPECIAL TREATMENT
Beijing has passed national security law which Hong Kong media reports will allow Beijing to crack down on any activity the authorities deem subversive with secessionist goals.
“If China wants to regain the trust of Hong Kong and the international community, it should honor the promises made to the people of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom in the 1
The administration warned for weeks that if the law were passed, it would take steps to end the special U.S. trade and commercial preferences that Hong Kong had enjoyed since returning to Chinese rule in 1997.
Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s only representative on the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, confirmed to reporters on Tuesday that the law had been passed. He said the punishments would not include the death penalty, but did not go into further detail as if the law could be applied retroactively.
“We hope that the law serves as a deterrent to prevent people from causing problems,” Tam said in the interview. “Don’t let Hong Kong be used as a tool to divide the country.”
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said it was not appropriate for her to comment on the new law while there is still a discussion about the consequences, Reuters said.
A crowd of several hundred opponents of the project gathered for what was planned as a “silent protest” in the Kowloon district while armed riot police kept an eye on it, Reuters reported.
Protesters ignored police warnings to disperse and started chanting slogans, police said on Facebook. Pepper spray was used to break the crowd after protesters blamed police lines on a Mong Kok street, according to police.
Police reported that 53 protesters were arrested and charged with illegal assembly.
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“We can no longer distinguish between exports of controlled items to Hong Kong or mainland China,” said Pompeo earlier. “We cannot risk these objects falling into the hands of the People’s Liberation Army, whose main purpose is to support the dictatorship of the (Communist Party in power) by any means necessary.”
Stephen Sorace and Fox News’ Associated Press contributed to this report