Trump actions on Hong Kong just threats for now

Donald Trump breaks US ties with World Health Organization over coronavirus pandemic

Trump announces unprecedented action against China

The protests continued after Hong Kong's Legislative Council shelved the amendment.

"After its return, the Chinese government's legal basis to administer HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) is our Constitution and the basic law of SAR, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration", he said.

"We will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China", Trump said.

The People's Daily, one of the Chinese Communist Party's primary media outlets, also ran an editorial on Saturday, calling the United States move to end some trading privileges for Hong Kong "doomed to fail" and a "gross interference" in China's internal affairs. But the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan province and Trump's suspicion that the Chinese government hid the severity of the situation have added a degree of volatility to long-standing points of tension between the two countries over a number of issues, including human rights abuses and the status of Hong Kong.

"They will lead to a breakdown of the mutually beneficial Hong Kong-U.S. relationship built up over the years and only hurt local and U.S. businesses in Hong Kong and the people working for them".

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At a time when China is facing global pressure and indignation over its mismanagement of the initial stages of coronavirus, tightening screws on Hong Kong gives Xi Jinping a nationalistic boost and potentially rallies the nation around the flag.

On Friday, Trump vowed to strip the city of certain trade privileges, saying Beijing's plan to impose a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous city was a "tragedy".

The moves come after China forged ahead with plans to impose new national security legislation and after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the territory no longer warrants special treatment under US law that has enabled it to remain a global financial centre.

In a statement, she said: "If China imposes this law, we will explore options to allow British Nationals Overseas to apply for leave to stay in the United Kingdom, including a path to citizenship".

That very principle came under challenge with an extradition law a year ago that would have allowed extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China. While there might be economic costs to China due to Washington's moves, for the CPC it is imperative that it is seen as managing the crisis in Hong Kong forcefully.

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Trump has blasted Beijing for tampering with Hong Kong's autonomy and laid out his decision to do away with Hong Kong's privileges.

Hong Kong has been roiled by protests, some of them violent, since a year ago as demonstrators have fought efforts by China and Hong Kong's Beijing-backed administration to impose tighter security laws on the territory, which has had relative autonomy since being returned to China by Britain in 1997.

More than 1,300 USA companies have offices in Hong Kong and provide about 100,000 jobs.

The 15-member council informally discussed Hong Kong in a closed virtual meeting after China opposed a USA call on Wednesday for a formal open council meeting, arguing that it was not an issue of global peace and security.

"Safe, sound and stable Hong Kong serves the interest of the US". He did say the administration would punish Chinese officials involved in the Hong Kong crackdown - something that Congress had already directed the administration to do - and that seems likely to be the next step.

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This could lead to Hong Kong being treated the same as mainland China under U.S. law, which would have major implications for its trade hub status.

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