World

US condemns China's plan to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong

Washington D.C. [US]: The United States has condemned the Chinese Communist Party's proposal to "unilaterally and arbitrarily" impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, urging Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy.

In a statement after a spokesman for China's National People's Congress said that delegates would review a plan to set up a legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong during the annual session, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: "The decision to bypass Hong Kong's well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised for Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an UN-filed agreement."

"The United States condemns the People's Republic of China (PRC) National People's Congress proposal to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong," he added.

He also asserted that Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of liberty, adding that the US stands with the people of Asia's financial hub.

"The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties, which are key to preserving its special status under US law. Any decision impinging on Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory," he added.

The proposal that was announced on Thursday threatened to erode the freedom that distinguishes the financial hub from the rest of the country.

The Times reported that the move could also inflame worries that Beijing is trying to dismantle the distinct political and cultural identity that has defined the former British colony since it was reclaimed by China in 1997.

The legislation would allow Beijing to take aim at the large often violent anti-government protests that roiled Hong Kong for much of last year.

However, China has defended the proposal saying that such legislations are necessary to protect the country's sovereignty from external forces determined to undermine the Communist Party. 

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