On Tuesday, May 26, President Donald Trump said the United States was currently working on a strong response to the national security legislation the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intends to impose on Hong Kong, which is expected to be announced this weekend.
During a press conference at the White House, President Trump was asked if he planned to implement sanctions against the CCP on Hong Kong and also if he planned to implement visa sanctions for Chinese students and researchers, Reuters reported.
“We’re doing something now. I think you’ll find it very interesting … I’ll be talking about it over the next couple of days,” Trump announced after saying that Hong Kong could lose its status as a global financial center if the CCP implements the repressive security law.
According to The Telegraph, the bill would ban secession, terrorism, and foreign intervention after the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region experienced months of intense pro-democracy protests.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she was not comfortable with the proposed security law for Hong Kong, saying, “It was difficult to see how Hong Kong could remain a financial centre if China took over.”
Meanwhile, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam tried to soften the severity of the current bill by asserting that it would “only target a handful of lawbreakers,” but the commander of China’s military garrison in Hong Kong threatened that the law would “punish any act of separatism.”
According to the Washington Times, while Lam called for “no need worry,” the bill pushed by the CCP would allow CCP security and intelligence agencies to introduce bases inside Hong Kong for the first time, which Trump administration officials have called a “death knell.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been tasked with providing Congress with an assessment of whether Hong Kong will continue to enjoy sufficient autonomy from the mainland to see whether new legislation involving special economic treatment is warranted.
U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien stressed that if implemented, the legislation could lead to U.S. sanctions and threaten Hong Kong’s status as a financial center.
The Washington Times indicated, last Sunday’s protests intensified again after the possible implementation of the bill was made known. The episode highlighted the violence of the authorities against the pro-democracy demonstrators who were fired at with tear gas, in addition to some 200 who were reportedly arrested.