WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday condemned China’s passage of new Hong Kong security legislation as a violation of Beijing’s international commitments and vowed to go on acting “against those who smothered Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy.”
“As Beijing now treats Hong Kong as ‘One Country, One System,’ so must the United States,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement. “We urge Beijing to immediately reverse course.”
China’s parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong earlier on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.
Details of the law - which comes in response to last year’s often-violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces - were yet to be released.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration joined an international outcry that included the European Union, Britain and Japan over what they condemn as an erosion of the autonomy granted the city at its July 1, 1997, handover.
The United States, already in dispute with China over trade, the South China Sea and the coronavirus, began eliminating Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law on Monday, halting defense exports and restricting technology access.
“Beijing’s passage of the National Security Law is a violation of its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Ullyot said. “The United States will continue to take strong actions against those who smothered Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy.”
Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Howard Goller