Colm Quinn writes in Foreign Policy:
China’s National People’s Congress approved a draft decision today to impose national security laws directly on Hong Kong, beginning the formal legal process that will likely result in the finalized laws coming into effect by September.
As Foreign Policy’s James Palmer wrote in his weekly China Brief on Wednesday, the new law “will likely lead to widespread arrests on spurious political charges, a crackdown on free speech, and the unleashing of China’s security organs, such as the Ministry of State Security and the People’s Armed Police.”
U.S. President Donald Trump now has an opportunity to turn his anti-China rhetoric into action, although it’s still not clear what form that will take. On Tuesday, he hinted at a White House announcement by the end of this week, with sanctions the likely avenue. His most senior diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, laid the groundwork on Wednesday by certifying to the U.S. Congress that Hong Kong’s fate as a fully Chinese entity was all but sealed. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground,” Pompeo said.
David Stilwell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, toldreporters on Wednesday that the U.S. response “will be as targeted as possible to change behavior,” while adding that he still hoped for China to reverse its decision.
By Colm Quinn