The US on Wednesday suspended or terminated three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong covering extradition and tax exemptions following China's imposition of a controversial national security law in the Asian trading hub to curb autonomy and democratic freedoms. The move came a month after US President Donald Trump ended Hong Kong's special status with the US and signed a legislation to sanction Chinese officials responsible for cracking down on political dissent in Hong Kong.
"As part of the ongoing implementation measures, we notified the Hong Kong authorities on August 19 of our suspension or termination of three bilateral agreements. These agreements covered the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships," State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
These steps underscore America's deep concern regarding Beijing's decision to impose the National Security Law, which has "crushed" the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, she said in a statement. Ortagus alleged that the Chinese Communist Party has taken drastic steps to erode the high degree of autonomy that Beijing itself promised to the United Kingdom and the people of Hong Kong for 50 years under the UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Donald Trump has made clear that the United States will, therefore, treat Hong Kong as "one country, one system" and take action against individuals who have crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, she said. The President's Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization (E.O. 13936) set forth a number of responses to Beijing's actions, including suspending and eliminating preferential treatment for Hong Kong, Ortagus said.
China passed the sweeping national security law on Hong Kong to take full control of the former British colony which witnessed massive protests by millions of locals opposing Beijing's growing controls over the city's seven million population. The Trump administration has been openly critical of Beijing's sweeping national security law aimed at limiting Hong Kong's autonomy and curb political dissent against the ruling Chinese Communist Party.