China has warned that it would take countermeasures against the United States if the Trump administration punishes Beijing for its plan to impose on Hong Kong a sedition law.
“If the U.S. insists on hurting China’s interests, China will have to take every necessary measure to counter and oppose this,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday, May 25, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fired back one day after White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said the U.S. government would likely impose sanctions on the CCP if Beijing implements a proposed security law that would give it greater control over autonomous Hong Kong.
The legislation would ban treason, subversion, and sedition in Hong Kong, but many Hong Kongers, business groups, and Western nations fear the new law could be a death blow to Hong Kong’s treasured freedoms.
During an interview with NBC on Sunday, O’Brien said that the draft legislation represents a takeover of Hong Kong, and as a consequence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would likely be unable to certify that the city maintains a “high degree” of autonomy, which would result in sanctions against the CCP under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.
O’Brien warned that Hong Kong could lose its preferential U.S. trading status.
“It’s hard to see how Hong Kong could remain the Asian financial center that it’s become if China takes over,” O’Brien said. “If all those things go away, I’m not sure how the financial community can stay there. … They’re not going to stay in Hong Kong to be dominated by the People’s Republic of China, the Communist Party,” he added.
According to CNBC, the CCP announced the legislation during its annual session of the People’s Congress last Friday. A document explaining the decision says the “one-country two systems principle” has achieved unprecedented success in Hong Kong, but the “increasingly notable national security risks” in the city “have become a prominent problem.”
The document states activities “have seriously challenged the bottom line of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, harmed the rule of law, and threatened national sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
Thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the streets to protest for the first time since the introduction of the national security law on Sunday despite a ban on mass gatherings introduced to combat the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus. Hong Kong police fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds.