Geo-political tensions are rising…
(Silver Doctors Editors) Protests in Hong Kong have begun again, which ultimately adds to the tensions between the US and China.
Here’s what’s been going on, from the NY Times:
Antigovernment protests have roiled this semiautonomous Chinese city for months, but the anger remains palpable. Protests swelled again after Beijing announced last week that it would impose national security laws that democracy advocates fear would target dissent. Grievances over the use of force by the police continue to burn. And a law that would criminalize disrespect of the national anthem has further stirred fear over threats to Hong Kong’s cherished freedoms of speech and expression.
“I think maybe this is the last chance we have to fight back,” said Sheldon Liu, a 20-year-old college student who joined protesters outside a mall in the Causeway Bay neighborhood. “Of course I hope these laws will not pass, but I feel it is impossible to stop.”
China’s national security push in Hong Kong has raised concerns among democratic governments. President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan said on Wednesday that she was directing her government to develop a plan to help people who are fleeing Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s government has sought to defend the security laws. John Lee, the secretary for security, said on Wednesday that violence during recent protests showed the need for the legislation and voiced his support for the police.
Which, in part, is what prompted this from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:
Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground. The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 27, 2020
What’s at stake for the relationship between Hong Kong and the United States?
Special status, which may be revoked.
From the Washington Post:
Under the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, the U.S. treats Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous part of China, differently than the mainland in trade, commerce and other areas. Now U.S. President Donald Trump could possibly rescind that “special status” to punish China for recent moves to tighten its grip on the city amid a resurgence of pro-democracy street protests. In its most extreme form, that would effectively mean treating the global financial hub no differently than any other Chinese city, a seismic shift that could harm both economies at an already difficult time. China has promised countermeasures against any foreign “interference.”
Of course, it’s not just about relations between Hong Kong and the United States, but on an even more profound level, this is about relations between China and the United States.