US-China relationship remains a challenge for Biden amid Hong Kong struggles
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Chinese President Xi Jinping is one of the few major super powers yet to congratulate president-elect Joe Biden on his presidential win, though this is unlikely to further tamper the slew of foreign policy challenges facing U.S.-China relations.
Hong Kong legislators resigned en masse on Wednesday to push back against a recent banishment of four colleagues from China’s legislative body.
The four pro-Hong Kong democracy legislators were stripped of their positions earlier this week for reportedly endangering China’s national security laws.
The announcement follows China’s latest attempt to curtail Hong Kong's autonomy after instating restrictive national security laws this summer that criminalized any actions the communist party saw as anti-China – including the ability to protest and freedom of speech.
The newest additions to the restrictive measures passed by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, allows Hong Kong city officials to expel anyone believed to be supportive of Honk Kong independence, collusion or a threat to national security without going through the courts, reported Reuters.
The resignation of the remaining 15 pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers leaves only China-centric lawmakers in the NPC’s 70-seat body.
“The relevant decision of the NPC Standing Committee targets no others but those [Legislative Council] members who do not meet the statutory requirements and conditions of ‘upholding the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China’ (HKSAR),” Chinese spokesperson Wang Webin said in a press conference Wednesday.
“Those who break the law must be held accountable, which is the basic principle of any law-based society,” he added.
The Trump administration has been vocal in its condemnation of the restrictions on Hong Kong autonomy, along with several other foreign policy issues that have greatly deteriorated America's relationship with the Asian superpower, including the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the Biden administration is likely to have little effect on reshaping China-Hong Kong relations, as China remains adamant in their intention to bring Hong Kong under Chinese rule.
HONG KONG'S PRO-DEMOCRACY LAWMAKERS TO RESIGN AFTER 4 LEGISLATORS DISQUALIFIED FOR 'ENDANGERING SECURITY'
Hong Kong exercised relative autonomy from China under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which granted China sovereignty after releasing the city from imperial rule in 1997.
The United States has recognized the city as independent from mainland-China since 1992 when the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act was signed.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit back against China’s new restrictive measures by instating visa restrictions on officials affiliated with Hong Kong suppression, slapping sanctions on companies working with China and rolling back Hong Kong’s Special Status – which permitted trade and economic benefits that allowed Hong Kong to be spared by the effects of the U.S.-China trade war.
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“I would like to stress that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, and the qualification of HKSAR LegCo members is purely an internal affair of China,” Wang said Wednesday, making it clear the opinions of U.S. leadership is of no concern to China.
“No other country has the right to make irresponsible remarks or intervene in the matter,” he added.
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