President Joe Biden announced Thursday that Hong Kong citizens currently in the United States who fear for their safety during a political crackdown on their homes will receive temporary safe haven.
Biden said the move recognizes the Chinese government’s “significant elimination” of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.
The unilateral imposition of the law of the People’s Republic of China on the protection of national security in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong has undermined the enjoyment of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. .
Biden cited “politically motivated arrests” of more than 100 opposition politicians, activists and protesters under the National Security Act, including allegations of separatism, sabotage and terrorist activities.
More than 10,000 people have been arrested in connection with anti-government protests, he said.
The new ruling extends the “Deferred Departure Departure” (DED) for Hong Kong residents, which allows them to stay for up to 18 months despite the expiration of their visa.
This is different from the more formal immigration class of “temporary protection status” (TPS), which is given to foreign nationals stranded in the United States who return home due to natural disasters or political changes.
The Chinese embassy in the United States condemned Biden’s announcement.
“Such actions ignore and distort the facts, and severely interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Liu Pengyu told AFP.
Since the enactment of the National Security Act, “social order has been restored, the rule of law and justice have been upheld” and rights have been better protected, he added, “it is an undeniable fact that All neutrals will agree. “
China introduced a national security law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020, which gave Beijing more power over the region’s judiciary and criminalized various political activities.
Critics say it is being used to undermine the “one country, two systems” architecture for city governance, when Britain ceded its former colony back to China in 1997.
The arrests of opposition politicians have curtailed freedom of expression and released activists for fear of detention or other punishment abroad.
In June, Hong Kong police raided the offices of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, closed it and arrested key executives.
Under Hong Kong’s national security law, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said, “Hong Kong’s promise of democracy has failed.”
He said in a statement that China had “fundamentally changed the foundations of Hong Kong’s institutions and suppressed the independence of Hong Kongers.”
In a show of mutual support, Republican Senator Pat Tommy called Biden’s announcement a “right call” and pledged US support for the region against “China’s oppressive government.”
He tweeted, “Hong Kongers are facing disgusting retaliation for simple actions such as speaking out against Beijing’s crusade to undermine #HongKong’s freedom, democracy and fundamental rights.”
Biden’s announcement comes after the US government formally warned of the “growing dangers” of operating in the Asian financial center.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the July 16 move was “designed to unnecessarily stink Hong Kong’s business environment” and that it had imposed sanctions on seven US individuals and organizations.
The Washington-based Hong Kong Democratic Council, one of the affected by the sanctions, said Biden’s offer of DED status would “provide an important lifeline for Hong Kongers currently in the United States.”
Samuel Choo, the council’s managing director, said the safe haven would mean fighting for human rights and democracy in Hong Kong and returning to Hong Kong.
Cho, a U.S. citizen for whom Hong Kong authorities have issued an arrest warrant, said the DED could potentially include 1,500 to 2,000 Hong Kong students and possibly tens of thousands of others in the United States. Visas for tourists or other temporary entry into the country
The offer of safe haven to the Hong Kong Congress is likely to further strain relations between Beijing and Washington.
Both sides have a long list of issues, including China’s threats to US-backed Taiwan and its disputed territorial claims in the South China Sea, US allegations that China has stolen US intellectual property and cracked down on Uighurs and other minorities. Is facing West Xinjiang region of China
When a senior US diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, visited Beijing for talks in July, Deputy Secretary of State Xi Feng said Washington should stop seeing China as an “imaginary enemy.”
“Hopefully, by discrediting China, the United States will somehow blame China for its structural problems,” Xi said.
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