Hong Kong cautions US against revoking its special status

by Shatakshi Gupta

Hong Kong, which is not only the special autonomous region of China but also the global financial hub, has long been in news, due to the protests which continuing there since 2019. Previously, these protests were against the extradition bill, which was proposed by the mainland Chinese government in 2019. This bill was seen as the attack on the democracy as well as on the sovereignty of Hong Kong, back then. But again, the protesters have come back on the streets, this time they are protesting against the National Security Legislation, which has been tabled and approved by the mainland Chinese government.

We can also notice a similar kind of response as well as support which is being extended by the US President, Donald Trump, in the favor of Hong Kong. Earlier, in 2019 President Trump came forward and condemned the Chinese government for the Extradition Bill, which was proposed by it.  And now, President Trump had again attacked the Chinese government by threatening them of revoking the special status which was long enjoyed by the special autonomous region of Hong Kong.

As per this special status, Hong Kong was privileged as it was treated as the separate trading entity by the United States. Under this special status Hong Kong always benefitted from the trading concessions as well as the preferential treatment in its exports. This was actually one of the major reasons behind Hong Kong becoming a world-class financial center on a par with London and New York.

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The U.S. Department of State said in a report on Thursday it could “no longer certify that Hong Kong continues to warrant (differential) treatment” from Beijing. Trump’s top economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that Hong Kong, which has enjoyed special privileges under U.S. law based on its high degree of autonomy from Beijing, may now need to be treated like China on trade and other financial matters.

According to Reuters, in response to the steps which are being taken by the United States, the government of Hong Kong countered, late on Thursday “Any sanctions are a double-edged sword that will not only harm the interests of Hong Kong but also significantly those of the U.S.,”. It added that from 2009 to 2018, the U.S. trade surplus with Hong Kong was the biggest among all its trading partners, totaling $297 billion of merchandise and 1,300 U.S. firms are based in the city.

Beijing also stated that the new National Security legislation had been purported for tackling secession, subversion, terrorism as well as foreign interference in the city. It is mainly focused on setting up Chinese intelligence agencies bases there. Also, the Chinese government calls it as its internal affair and do not wish to seek any kind of foreign interference in to this matter.