Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGrassley: White House ‘failed to address’ if there was a ‘good reason’ for IG firings Overnight Defense: Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns | Plan would reportedly bring troops in Afghanistan back by Election Day | Third service member dies from COVID-19 Ex-Pompeo staffers asked to sign letter against ‘smear campaign’ MORE on Wednesday said the U.S. no longer views Hong Kong as politically autonomous from China, a stark escalation in response to China’s plan to impose new security restrictions on the territory.“Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground,” the secretary wrote on Twitter. “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.”Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 27, 2020Pompeo clarified in a further statement that China’s expected passage of a national security law meant to impose more restrictions on Hong Kong’s autonomy will not allow for Washington to “continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997.”“After careful study of developments over the reporting period, I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997. No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground,” the secretary said.The U.S. since 1992 has had separate political, economic and trade relations with Hong Kong. The policy carried over when the territory was transferred from British rule to Beijing control in 1997 and is part of how the U.S. views China’s “one country, two systems” policy.The separation between mainland China and Hong Kong has allowed the city-territory to flourish as a global financial capital and drawn international praise for its high degree of political and individual freedoms.Yet recent moves by Beijing to exert more control over the territory has sparked massive and popular protests. These include opposition to a proposed law in the Hong Kong legislature in 2019 that would allow extradition to China for criminal offenses. It was later withdrawn in the face of mass protests.  Hong Kong residents took to the streets on Wednesday in opposition to Beijing’s proposed “national security law,” criticized as imposing on the territory broad authority to arrest people for acts described as “secession, subversion and terrorism.”Protesters also opposed legislation recently introduced by Hong Kong lawmakers that would criminalize criticism of the Chinese national anthem.The increasing efforts by China to exercise control over Hong Kong has received push back from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the European Union.But the announcement Wednesday by Pompeo is the most concrete action taken against Beijing as relations between the U.S. and China have fallen to one of the lowest points in recent history, largely over the novel coronavirus pandemic.President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE has called for China to be held accountable for the virus’s spread. COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, first broke out in China, and the U.S has argued that Beijing could have done more to prevent its spread.
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