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In response to Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region under Chinese rule, Trump said Friday it will “revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China.”
Trump also said the U.S. will take “necessary steps to sanction” both Chinese and Hong Kong officials who are “directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy.”
Top Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily said in a commentary on Sunday evening that the U.S. move to slap sanctions on Hong Kong is nothing but a show of political posturing.
It highlighted that Washington announced those sanctions just as protests were escalating stateside, after the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by Minneapolis police. The paper questioned why the U.S. was “complaining about others” and “attacking” them instead of focusing on its own problems.
The commentary also noted that U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic have hit a new high.
“With domestic crises on the rise, (the U.S.) has not forgotten to interfere in the affairs of foreign countries, as well as withdrawing from the world’s largest health organization,” the paper said, referring to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization.
“The logic of the US side is understandable and incomprehensible,” it added.
Hong Kong’s autonomy has been called into question after Beijing approved a plan to impose national security laws directly, bypassing the legislature of the special administrative region.
Hong Kong, a British colony that was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997, is a Chinese special administrative region with semi-autonomous status. Under the “one country, two systems” framework, the territory is given economic and civil freedoms that people in the mainland do not not have.
Trump said Friday it had become clear that “Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory since the handover.”
“The United States’ attempt to deter China’s development by interfering in Hong Kong affairs will not succeed,” it said, according to CNBC’s translation of the Chinese text.
The state-owned China Daily published a similar rhetoric on Sunday and said the U.S. wants to sow discord on the mainland just as it did in Hong Kong, as “they want a China that is not prosperous” and where the rule of law can be trampled upon, the article said.
“They want a China where their ‘diplomats’ could intervene freely in its domestic affairs,” it added.
The U.S. “better give up that dream and come back to reality” as the current violence spreading across the U.S. “shows how deeply the US society is divided,” the article added. “US politicians should do their jobs and help solve problems in the US, instead of trying to create new problems and troubles in other countries.”
Global Times, a tabloid under the ruling party’s People’s Daily newspaper, drew parallels between the protests in Hong Kong and that the protesters “at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd.”
“The anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong last year turned extremely violent. Did the violence have anything to do with the bill? When the bill was officially withdrawn, why did the protesters still take to the street?” said the Global Times in an opinion piece on Sunday. It was referring to a proposed extradition bill which would have paved the way for criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China — the bill was subsequently withdrawn, but not before sparking months of unrest in the territory.