Sat, Jun 15, 2019 - Page 1 News List

US senators propose annual review of HK autonomy

Reuters, WASHINGTON

More than 1,000 National Taiwan University students from Taiwan and Hong Kong are joined by professors and Sunflower movement leader Lin Fei-fan at a sit-in in front of the Fu Bell on the university’s campus in Taipei yesterday behind banners that read: “Taiwan and Hong Kong join forces to oppose the extradition law.”

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

US lawmakers on Thursday responded to a crisis in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition law with China by introducing legislation that would require the US government to justify the continuation of special treatment for the territory.

The bipartisan legislation in the US Senate, sponsored by several senior senators, would require the US secretary of state to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy to justify special treatment under the US-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

The proposed law, introduced by Republican US Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, would also require the US president to identify those responsible for the abduction of booksellers and other individuals from Hong Kong and subject them to US sanctions.

In Beijing, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday expressed “extreme dissatisfaction” with the proposed US legislation, calling it “irresponsible carping and crude interference.”

China called on the US “to give up its delusions of creating chaos in Hong Kong, stop pushing the proposed bill and to stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) told a regular media briefing.

The bill would also require the president to issue a strategy to protect US citizens and businesses from the effects of a revised extradition law and the US Department of Commerce to issue an annual report assessing whether Hong Kong was adequately enforcing US and UN sanctions, particularly those on Iran and North Korea.

In addition, the legislation would make clear that Hong Kong citizens should not be denied visas to the US if they were arrested or detained in connection with protest activity in the territory.

The legislation was also expected to be introduced to the US House of Representatives.

Scuffles broke out between demonstrators and police in Hong Kong on Thursday as hundreds of people persevered with a protest against the extradition law one day after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up big crowds.

Wednesday’s protests around the Hong Kong Legislative Council forced the postponement of debate on the bill, which many in Hong Kong fear would undermine freedoms and confidence in the commercial hub.

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