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Hong Kong shaken after Beijing’s announcement of security law

Yesterday, we reported that officials announced that Beijing would be passing new national security laws that will give the Communist Party more control over political activity and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. We called it a death blow to the “one country, two systems” formula, under which Hong Kong is supposed to have legal autonomy until 2047.

Here is some of the fallout:

Hong Kong’s “stock market plunged amid expectations that money would soon be leaving the Asian financial hub, which faces tough new measures from Beijing and retaliation from the United States,” reports the New York Times (porous paywall), in a story titled “China’s tighter grip on Hong Kong shakes city’s business world.”

U.S. President Donald Trump warned “that Washington would react ‘very strongly’ against the attempt to gain more control over the former British colony, reports Reuters.  

The U.S. State Department also warned China, saying a high-degree of autonomy and respect for human rights were key to preserving the territory’s special status in U.S. law, which has helped it maintain its position as a world financial centre.

Beijing will “let mainland state-security agencies operate officially in Hong Kong, a senior Chinese official said Friday,” according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), “adding to concerns about the city’s diminishing autonomy as Beijing steps up its efforts to rein in the protest-torn city.”

Chinese state media has defended the new laws fiercely. Nationalist rag the Global Times says that America’s Hong Kong “sanction card won’t intimidate China” (Chinese version here). Xinhua News Agency says “no foreign country has right to interfere in national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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