The United States warned China Thursday against any move to weaken Hong Kong's autonomy following reports that China's parliament will propose national security legislation for the territory in response to pro-democracy protests that often turned violent.
"If it happens, we'll address that issue very strongly," U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday as he left the White House for a trip to Michigan.
The president has been critical of China for several months, blaming it for the spread of the coronavirus beyond Wuhan, where it originated.
"Any effort to impose national security legislation that does not reflect the will of the people of Hong Kong would be highly destabilizing and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community," said Morgan Ortagus, State Department spokesperson.
"As the Secretary has stated, we are delaying the submission of our annual Hong Kong Policy Act Report to Congress to allow us to account for any additional actions that Beijing may be contemplating in the run-up to and during the National People's Congress that would further undermine Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy."
Article 23 of the Basic Law says the Hong Kong government shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition or subversion against the central government. An attempt to implement the article failed in 2003 in the face of large demonstrations.
National People's Congress spokesman Zhang Yesui announced the plan Thursday as an annual high-level political conference in China that was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic for two months got under way in Beijing.
Source : VOA