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The end of autonomy for Hong Kong | HT Editorial

China’s unilateral measures will erode both rights and prosperity in the city-state

Updated: May 28, 2020 19:08 IST

By Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times

With reports of capital flight and financial firms already seeking alternative homes, the future of Hong Kong as an international financial centre looks bleak (REUTERS)

China seems to have begun consolidating its territorial claims on its periphery and the first victim will be an autonomous Hong Kong. The mainland’s National People’s Congress has passed a new sweeping security law that will criminalise most forms of political dissent, undermine other individual freedoms and put a tight lid on foreigner activity in the city-state. The rubber-stamp Hong Kong authority has signalled its intention to pass the law, effectively ending the “one country, two systems” principle that was the basis of the handover of the British colony.

The United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo quickly warned these actions meant Hong Kong no longer enjoyed autonomy from China, clearing the path for Washington to revoke the special economic status the city-state enjoys with the US. The US is likely to roll back elements of this status, encompassing visas, tariffs and financial regulations, lock step with the regression of Hong Kong’s rights. With reports of capital flight and financial firms already seeking alternative homes, the future of Hong Kong as an international financial centre looks bleak. This will make US-China relations, already fragile, even worse. Beijing has also accompanied this by officially dropping the first word in its traditional espousal of “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan. India should watch China’s aggression closely, for it could directly impinge on its own security interests.

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