Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said China’s moves to exert more control over Hong Kong have “eviscerated” the rule of law in the city as the U.S. continues to strip trade privileges from the former British colony.
“A free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous and dynamic cities,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington on Wednesday. “Now it will be just another communist-run city where its people will be subject to the party elite’s whims. It’s sad.”
The comments come after Hong Kong police began making their first arrests under sweeping national security legislation that has dramatically curtailed dissent in the city, less than 24 hours after Chinese lawmakers handed it down. The law came into force ahead of the July 1 anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, a symbolic occasion usually marked by mass protests.
In another sign of the worsening relationship between Beijing and Washington, Pompeo said the U.S. is issuing a business advisory to companies that have supply chain links to China’s western Xinjiang province, where authorities this year began forcibly detaining Muslim Uighurs.
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