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US foreign policy

Blinken hits out at China, says Hong Kong does not warrant differential treatment

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The United States condemned China Wednesday for continuing to “dismantle” Hong Kong’s autonomy, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that Hong Kong did not warrant unique treatment.

“Over the past year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has continued to dismantle Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, in violation of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” Blinken said.

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The top US diplomat made his comments after submitting the Hong Kong Policy Act report to Congress, whereby he certified that Hong Kong “does not warrant differential treatment under US law in the same manner as US laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1, 1997.”

The Hong Kong Policy Act states that the US should continue to deal with the island in the same way before China took control in 1997.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have been increasing over the years and culminated with former President Donald Trump levying tariffs on China and threatening to “decouple” from it economically.

President Joe Biden has taken a strong stance against China since taking office but dispatched two of his most senior officials to meet with Chinese diplomats last week.

In his statement Wednesday, Blinken criticized China’s arbitrary arrests and politically-motivated prosecutions of opposition figures.

“I am committed to continuing to work with Congress and our allies and partners around the world to stand with people in Hong Kong against [China’s] egregious policies and actions,” Blinken said.

“We will continue to call on [China] to abide by its international obligations and commitments; to cease its dismantlement of Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, autonomy, and rule of law; to release immediately and drop all charges against individuals unjustly detained in Hong Kong; and to respect the human rights of all individuals in Hong Kong,” he added.

Read more: Washington condemns China’s ‘baseless sanctions’ against US officials over Xinjiang