Relations between China and the US are tense due to the trade war, President Donald Trump’s accusations against China after the Corona virus epidemic, and the harsh security draft law that China has prepared for Hong Kong, the world’s financial center.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wu argued that some political groups in America are taking hostage relations between the two countries and dragging the world’s two largest economies towards a new cold war.
” The United States harms China’s national interests’ ‘
China’s national security draft law to the parliament to be implemented in the autonomous region of Hong Kong has sparked controversy, the US will allow China’s intelligence units to open offices in Hong Kong’ The authorities had reacted violently.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian argued that the United States has damaged China’s interests in Hong Kong, and said Beijing would respond if this continues.
China’s foreign ministry office in Hong Kong and the city’s top security official also defended China’s new national security draft law, describing some of the protests in pro-democracy protests last year in Hong Kong as “terrorism”. .
In the text of the national security law proposal, which was explained in China’s National People’s Congress last week, it is stated that the purpose of the bill is to fight division, topple the government or to fight terrorist acts. It is stated that if the draft law is put into practice, China’s intelligence units may open the way for offices to open in Hong Kong, which has a semi-autonomous status as one of the world’s leading financial centers.
Pro-democracy activists and politicians are concerned that the law in question could destroy the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the “one country two systems” deal in Hong Kong, whose administration was transferred from England to China in 1997.
Hong Kong assurance to foreign investors from China
China’s Commissioner for Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, Xie Feng, said at a press conference for diplomats, foreign countries’ chambers of commerce and journalists, the law will only target the “problematic minority” that poses a threat to China’s national security.
Xie did not explain the details of the anxious law, when the full law would come into force, or what actions would be criminalized.
When asked if the offices of Chinese intelligence agencies likely to be established in Hong Kong will have the authority to enforce the law, Xie refrained from giving a clear answer to the question, saying that the details on this issue are still being evaluated.
In Hong Kong and the mainland of China, officials have been trying to persuade foreign investors that their interests in the city will not be harmed by security law.
There were demonstrations again in Sunday in Hong Kong, where there were intense anti-government protests last year, but the streets have been relatively quiet for some time. The police, who intervened with the tear gas and water cannons, said that at least 180 people were detained.
Police chief Chris Tang said there have been explosives in Hong Kong since June, when the demonstrations were said to have been used in terrorist attacks in 14 incidents, and in five incidents they seized firearms and ammunition.
Security Minister John Lee noted that since the demonstrations last year, “dangerous acts such as terrorism and calls for independence from Hong Kong” have increased.
At Hong Kong protests, scenes similar to last year took place, and many demonstrators on the streets shouted “independence is the only solution”.
Protests are expected to revive on Wednesday. A draft law on the Hong Kong assembly that predicts “abuse of China’s national anthem is considered a crime” is expected to be discussed on Wednesday.
Countries such as the USA, Australia, England, Canada expressed their concerns about the national security draft bill, which is considered a milestone in Hong Kong’s special status.
Following the controversial bill, Washington is considering whether to maintain the special status of Hong Kong as the global financial center under the US commercial laws.
Many foreign businessmen and diplomats expressed their concerns about the draft at Xie’s press conference. In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the United States of publicly interfering with China’s national security bill.
Taiwan is also considering the option to revoke the privileged status granted to Hong Kong if the law enters into force.
The business community has expressed concern that the law can lead to capital and skilled labor escapes from Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Bar, on the other hand, questioned the legitimacy of the mechanism Beijing could use to add the national security law to Hong Kong’s constitution, bypassing the local assembly without consulting civil society.
In addition, the bar association says that the legitimacy of the creation of new units linked to the mainland of China in Hong Kong, as well as questions about whether the independence of the legal system can be maintained.
China’s government spokesperson at Hong Kong said that most urban residents and foreign investors should not be worried about the new security bill.
The new national security law proposal presented at the Chinese National People’s Congress will be discussed at the annual session of the Chinese assembly. It will then be incorporated into Hong Kong’s constitution without going through a local review and consultation process on the law.
Why is Hong Kong’s status important to the US?
The USA also carefully follows the steps coming from China on Hong Kong. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said in late April, when Beijing has not yet taken this step, “Every effort to impose harsh national security laws on Hong Kong will not comply with Beijing’s earlier promises and every step taken in this direction will affect US interests in the region. He said.
Pompeo, in a statement after the content of the law proposal was announced at China’s National People’s Congress, also described Beijing’s step as a step to end Hong Kong’s status.
Losing Hong Kong’s special status can cause problems for 1,300 American companies operating in the region. These companies include the leading financial companies of the USA. According to the 2018 data of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 85 thousand US citizens live in Hong Kong. Thanks to the special status of Hong Kong, America is gaining access to the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.
In such a case, it is stated that visa-free travel to Hong Kong may be subject to China’s strict visa rules, making it difficult to travel to the region for business travel and work visa approval.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, passed by US President Donald Trump last year, confirms that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sufficient autonomy for the continuation of the special trade conditions that Hong Kong holds with the US and maintains the world’s financial center position. required.
“Any decision that will overshadow Hong Kong’s autonomy and the freedoms guaranteed in the Common Declaration will inevitably affect our assessment of the ‘one country, two systems’ and the status of the region,” Foreign Minister Pompeo said.
Hong Kong’s autonomous status, civil rights and freedoms, respect for the principles of the rule of law and access to China also make it attractive for international companies.
Losing this status of Hong Kong could also jeopardize an annual trade volume of $ 67 billion with the United States. Because the USA imposes zero customs tax on the goods imported by Hong Kong.