In response to pressure from Washington, which issued a decree on Tuesday ending the preferential treatment established with Hong Kong, Chinese authorities have threatened the United States with retaliation.
The Chinese answer did not have to wait. On Wednesday, July 15, Beijing threatened the United States with reprisals after US President Donald Trump announced a law imposing sanctions on the “oppression” of Beijing in its autonomous territory of Hong Kong.
The imposition in Beijing in late June of draconian national security legislation in the former British colony raised fears of a reduction in freedoms. Washington, London and several western capitals have expressed opposition.
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Donald Trump exerted pressure on Tuesday: he announced the end of the preferential economic regime granted to the United States Autonomous Territory, a major international financial center, and announced a law imposing sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials. “Today, I signed a law and a decree to hold China accountable for its oppression of the people of Hong Kong,” he told a news conference.
The decree concludes the currently applicable preferential commercial treatment. “Hong Kong will be treated like China: no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technology,” Donald Trump said. He added that he had no intention of meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ease tensions.
The Republican billionaire also predicted a cerebral hemorrhage in the territory, populated by 7.5 million inhabitants. “Their freedom has been taken away from them […]”Many people will leave,” he said.
The US law is “gross interference in the internal affairs of Hong Kong and China,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
“In order to protect its legitimate interests, China will provide the necessary response and impose sanctions on the United States and entities concerned,” he said.
Hong Kong’s Autonomy Act, which was unanimously approved in early July by the United States Congress, is addressed not only to Chinese officials but also to the Hong Kong police.
“Protect its sovereignty”
It triggers mandatory sanctions against those who would be identified as working to restrict freedoms. Crucial point: it punishes the banks which, through their financing, would contribute to the erosion of the territory’s autonomy.
“China will remain firm in its determination and will to protect its sovereignty,” said Beijing, which has no plans to withdraw its national security legislation.
This, according to his critics, leads to an unprecedented reduction in freedoms since the handover of Hong Kong to China by the United Kingdom in 1997.
The law aims to suppress subversive activities, isolation, terrorism and cooperation with foreign forces aimed at jeopardizing national security.
For the United States, the text is aimed at rubbing off the Hong Kong opposition after the monster demonstrations last year, which aimed to condemn Beijing’s influence in the territory.
According to China, on the contrary, this law ensures stability, stops the violence that punctured the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong, and suppresses the current current of independence there.
A devastating impact on Hong Kong
How about the repercussions of the new US sanctions? They will “immediately create trade barriers” and “have a devastating impact on Hong Kong as a financial gateway to Western markets,” predicts Julia Friedlander of the U.S. think tank Atlantic Council. In turn, this will “further improve China’s places” such as Shanghai and Shenzhen: “Hong Kong will be affected and China will probably win,” she said.
Washington has increased pressure on Beijing in recent days. While the United States has so far refrained from taking an open position in territorial disputes in the South China Sea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took on Monday for the other riparian states against China.
Washington also won a victory in its fight against Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which they accuse of potential espionage in favor of Beijing: London announced on Tuesday that it would clear its 5G network of all equipment produced by the company.
Last week, the United States announced that it would deny visas to three senior Chinese officials accused of orchestrating repression against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang – a vast area in the northwest of the country – in the fight against terrorism. China.