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Home / Press Release / Trump Should Act on Pompeo Refusal to Certify Hong Kong Autonomy
May 27, 2020

Trump Should Act on Pompeo Refusal to Certify Hong Kong Autonomy

WASHINGTON - President Trump should immediately sanction officials in Beijing and Hong Kong who have abused human rights, and should work with allies and like-minded governments to do the same, said Human Rights First today following the State Department’s announcement that Hong Kong no longer has sufficient autonomy from mainland China.

Under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to assess by the end of May 2020 whether Hong Kong had retained sufficient autonomy from China to retain special trading status - a set of privileges afforded to Hong Kong but denied to mainland China, including the export of sensitive technologies. Today, Pompeo announced that Hong Kong has failed to demonstrate that autonomy.

“China is about to impose a frightening new security law on Hong Kong, designed to stamp out dissent. The city’s independence is fast disappearing, and the first targets to sanction should be those in Beijing,” said Human Rights First's Brian Dooley. “Senior Chinese officials should be top of the list to hit with asset freezes and denial of visas to the United States. Sometimes the Trump administration talks big on human rights in China; today it's time to act.”

Mass protests swept Hong Kong from June last year as locals feared China was threatening the city's autonomy and reneging on the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement designed to protect freedoms when British rule ended in 1997.

Although the COVID-19 virus meant a long lull in protests earlier this year, the large-scale street demonstrations are back, with a surge expected in June to mark the first anniversary of last year’s unrest.

"Hong Kong officials who abuse human rights should also be targeted for sanctions," said Dooley. "There has to be a reckoning for those who crackdown on peaceful protests."