Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Monday, Jul 15, 2024

Hong Kong trade offices in US targeted by new Senate bill

Hong Kong trade offices in US targeted by new Senate bill

Legislation by Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Merkley of Oregon would require a yearly review on whether the offices should keep their diplomatic privileges.

Two US senators introduced a bill on Thursday that could shutter Hong Kong’s representative offices in America if the White House determines that Beijing has undermined the city’s autonomy.

The bill would amend the State Department’s annual review of Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status to require the US president to explain to Congress why the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs) in the country should retain or lose their diplomatic privileges.

Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, is a co-sponsor of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act.

The annual review is required by the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, which went into effect in advance of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997. It was intended to keep US trade and other privileges the city enjoyed in place following the transfer of control.

The bill would block efforts to “knowingly assist in the promotion of Hong Kong as a free and autonomous city or [the Hong Kong government] as committed to protecting the human rights of people of Hong Kong or fully maintaining the rule of law required for human rights and economic prosperity” if the State Department determines that the city has lost its autonomy.

Sponsored by Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act is the latest Washington response to Beijing’s crackdown on opposition activists in the city since widespread protests there in 2019.

The bill is the same as one Rubio introduced in December – close to the end of the previous congressional session – but that did not get any cosponsors and was not voted on.

Representative Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, plans to introduce an identical version of the bill in the House on Friday, according to a staffer in his office.

Rubio’s announcement stated that Representative James McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, would co-sponsor Smith’s bill, but McGovern’s office did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

US legislation in response to the hard line against protesters started with the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, another Rubio-led initiative. That law authorised a string of US sanctions against government officials in the city and mainland China, including Hong Kong’s then-chief executive Carrie Lam.

Friction intensified after Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020 to punish acts that were deemed to support secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign interference. That move prompted then-president Donald Trump to revoke Hong Kong’s special trading status.

A number of Hong Kong activists, including retired Catholic leader Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, have been charged or are being investigated under the law.

Under the Rubio-Merkley bill, a decertification order by the US president would give the three HKETOs in the US six months to terminate operations. If the president certified the HKETOs, Congress could still pass a joint resolution overriding it.

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation and the Hong Kong Democracy Council issued a joint statement praising the bill, citing “the urgent need to curtail the influence of the HKETOs”.

“The case for [the offices’] continued existence on American soil is highly questionable given that Hong Kong’s special status under US law was itself already revoked almost three years ago, ahead of the draconian national security law coming into effect,” they said.

“Since then, it’s reasonable to assume that major actions taken by Hong Kong authorities are directed by Beijing.”

The HKETO in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.