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China: US Action on Hong Kong Doomed   05/30 09:21

   

   BEIJING (AP) -- The mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party said U.S. 
moves to end some trading privileges for Hong Kong "grossly interfere" in 
China's internal affairs and are "doomed to fail."

   Saturday's editorial in the newspaper People's Daily was responding to an 
announcement from President Donald Trump, after China's ceremonial parliament 
bypassed Hong Kong's local legislature to advance legislation that could 
severely curtail free speech and opposition political activities in the 
semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

   It was the "firm determination of all Chinese people" to oppose interference 
in Hong Kong affairs by any external forces, the paper said.

   "This hegemonic act of attempting to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and 
grossly interfere in China's internal affairs will not frighten the Chinese 
people and is doomed to fail," it said. Attempts at "forcing China to make 
concessions on core interests including sovereignty and security through 
blackmailing or coercion ... can only be wishful thinking and day-dreaming!"

   China has threatened to retaliate over the U.S. move to cancel trading 
advantages granted to Hong Kong after its handover from British to Chinese rule 
in 1997.

   Tensions over Hong Kong have increased over the past year as China has 
cracked down on protesters and strengthened its control over the Asian 
financial hub.

   Critics say the vote Thursday at the National People's Congress to impose 
security legislation on Hong Kong effectively negates Beijing's pledge to 
maintain the territory's separate civil, legal and economic institutions under 
the "one country, two systems" framework.

   Trump said the administration would begin eliminating the "full range" of 
agreements that had given Hong Kong a relationship with the U.S. that mainland 
China lacked, including exemptions from controls on certain exports. "China has 
replaced its promised formula of one country, two systems, with one country, 
one system," he said.

   Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong 
is no longer deserving of the preferential trade and commercial status it has 
enjoyed from the U.S.

   It's not yet clear what impact the decision will have on U.S. companies that 
operate in Hong Kong, or on the city's position as Asia's major financial hub. 
Beijing has yet to give details on what specific measures it will take in 
response, although the People's Daily editorial said China was prepared to make 
a "resolute counterattack and what awaits you can only be a shameful failure."

   In Hong Kong on Saturday, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said it was 
"completely false and wrong" to say the territory was losing its autonomy.

   China's central authorities have the absolute right to take action on 
national security regarding Hong Kong, Cheng told reporters.

   She also criticized the U.S., saying "any other state that tries to use 
coercion or whatever means with a view to interfering with the sovereign right 
of a state to pass its own national security law is arguably infringing on the 
principle of non-intervention under public international law, and that is not 
acceptable."

   China passed the Hong Kong national security law after stiff public 
opposition scuppered a previous attempt by the territory's legislature to pass 
such legislation in 2003.

   Beijing's resolve appeared to have been hardened by months of 
anti-government protests in Hong Kong that frequently led to violent 
confrontations between police and the largely youthful demonstrators. China 
repeatedly accused foreign governments and international organizations of 
fueling the demonstrations, while showing no direct evidence.

   Speculation over Washington's response has included the possibility that 
those connected with the crackdown, including members of the Hong Kong police 
force, could face U.S. travel bans or other sanctions.

   "It is now clear that Hong Kong is caught in the middle of major China-U.S. 
tensions," said Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in 
Hong Kong.

   Businesses face multiple unanswered questions about the unraveling of the 
special trading relationship and it "won't be like flipping a switch," Joseph 
said.

 
 
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