China dismisses U.S. threat over Hong Kong law, calls it a 'nothing burger'

Pompeo has suggested the U.S. might reconsider its Hong Kong policy if 'national security' law passes

Last Updated:
May 26, 2020 - 5:38pm

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China's state-run media is dismissed rumblings that the U.S. might revise its longstanding Hong Kong policy in light of a new "national security" law out of Bejing, calling those intimations from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a "nothing burger."

The response, in an editorial from the government-controlled Global Times, argues that international opponents to that law "have gained a seemingly ferocious momentum. But this momentum is far less powerful than it seems."

The proposed law would outlaw what the central government deems sedition and subversion of the country's Chinese Communist party. Those have been major sticking points for the Chinese government over the past year, after widespread protests began in Hong Kong over a proposed law that would allow extradition from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.

The law would "bypass Hong Kong’s well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong," Pompeo said in a statement on Friday. He called it "a death knell for the high degree of autonomy" enjoyed by the special administrative region over more than two decades.

"Any decision impinging on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory," Pompeo said. 

In its editorial, the Times suggested the U.S.'s threats were empty.

"The White House claimed it would impose sanctions on China, but the tools and resources at its disposal are fewer than those it could mobilize before the [coronavirus] outbreak. It is only bluffing," the editors wrote. 

"The entire Western world will not follow the US," the editorial continued. "China is a huge market and the US is unable to provide enough compensation to offset the losses if Western countries become alienated from China."

"The U.S. stirring of Western public opinion will lead to nothing," it concluded. 

In his press release, Pompeo said the United States "strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by 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 U.S. law."

"We stand with the people of Hong Kong," he said. 

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