‘Serious mistake’: US Chamber warns China about undermining Hong Kong autonomy

Delegates wearing face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus leave after the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 21, 2020. (AP)

The US Chamber of Commerce said on Tuesday it was deeply concerned that China’s proposed national security legislation on Hong Kong could undermine its autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework, and urged Beijing to de-escalate the situation.

In a statement, the largest US business group said it would be “a serious mistake” to jeopardize Hong Kong’s special status, which was fundamental to its role as an attractive investment destination and financial hub.

It also urged the US government to maintain constructive ties with Hong Kong and said far-reaching changes to Hong Kong’s status as a separate territory under US law would have serious implications for US businesses that operate there.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has proposed a security law that would reduce Hong Kong’s separate legal status, a move that business leaders and diplomats say could mark a turning point for China’s freest city. It is expected to be discussed by China’s National People’s Congress and approved on Thursday.

The US Chamber, which represents US companies with a large presence and long-standing interests in both Hong Kong and China, urged Beijing to peacefully defuse the situation.

Hong Kong people participate in their annual pro-democracy march on New Year's Day to insist their five demands be matched by the government in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2020. (Photo: AP)

Hong Kong people participate in their annual pro-democracy march on New Year's Day to insist their five demands be matched by the government in Hong Kong on Jan. 1, 2020. (Photo: AP)

“It would be a serious mistake on many levels to jeopardize Hong Kong’s special status, which is fundamental to its role as an attractive investment destination and international financial hub,” the group said.

It urged the Trump administration to continue to prioritize maintenance of a positive and constructive relationship between the US and Hong Kong.

Revising Hong Kong’s status under US law as a separate territory would have “serious implications for Hong Kong and for US business, particularly those with business operations located there who exercise a positive influence in favor of Hong Kong’s core values,” it said.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 26 May 2020 KSA 16:12 - GMT 13:12
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