Washington, D.C. – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday condemned China’s attempts to control national security legislation in Hong Kong, calling it a “death sentence for the high degree of autonomy” that Beijing had promised the territory.
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The measure – introduced Friday at the opening of the annual session of the Chinese National People’s Congress, a ceremonial body – has been firmly rejected by lawmakers in favor of democracy in Hong Kong, which is semi-autonomous.RELATED
Pompeo called China’s proposal an attempt to “unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom. The United States urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, comply with 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. ” Pompeo said in a statement.
He said ignoring the will of the Hong Kong people would be a “death sentence for the high degree of autonomy that Beijing promised Hong Kong” under an agreement several decades ago, known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The bill seeks to prohibit secessionist and subversive activity, as well as foreign interference and terrorism. It was drawn up after months of pro-democracy protests last year that sometimes turned violent between police and protesters.