Beijing Vows Retaliation for US Removing Preferential Treatment for Hong Kong

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The warning comes on the heels of reports that lawmakers in mainland China approved the contentious security law which will allow authorities to crack down on subversion, secession, terrorism or foreign collusion in the semi-autonomous territory. The law met with opposition in Hong Kong and several Western countries, including the United States.

China has threatened with retaliation against the United States’ desision to strip Hong Kong of its special status amid a spike in tensions over a new security law.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian did not elaborate on the possible measures in making the announcement on Tuesday.

The Hong Kong-based newspaper SCMP and broadcaster RTHK report that Chinese lawmakers have unanumously approved the law, which China says is meant to safeguard national security but many in Hong Kong fear will encroach on the territory’s unique freedoms.

The law was passed a year after the start of mass anti-government protests in the Asian financial hub, which has a separate legal framework and governance from mainland China under the “one country, two systems” principle, an arrangement that is set to expire by 2047.

The security law, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers in Hong Kong, was viewed by critics in Hong Kong in the West as Beijing’s attempt to take control over the semi-autonomous territory. China insists that the law is meant to target a small number of “troublemakers” and will not affect civil rights and freedoms nor will it threaten investor interests.

In line with President Trump’s threat to remove Hong Kong’s preferential status in response to the law, the US  on Monday announced that it was ending exports of US-made defence equipment to Hong Kong and restricting the territory’s access to high-tech products.

Last year, the US government greenlighted the export of $2.4 million worth of controlled defense articles and services to Hong Kong,of which about $1.4 million was actually shipped, according to US officials.

Sputnik

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