In a notice sent to Congress, Blinken said China had continued to “dismantle” Hong Kong’s autonomy since his predecessor, Mike Pompeo, first made the determination in May 2020. As a result, Blinken said, the former British colony does not warrant U.S. trade and financial perks it had enjoyed since it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 with a pledge from Beijing that it would enjoy significant autonomy for 50 years.
The decision is yet another indication that President Joe Biden’s administration has not strayed from the hard line that was taken by President Donald Trump on China. On Tuesday, the State Department once again repeated the Trump administration’s characterization of Chinese treatment of Uighur Muslims and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region as “genocide.”
“Over the past year, the People’s Republic of China has continued to dismantle Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, in violation of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” Blinken said. “In particular, the PRC government’s adoption and the Hong Kong government’s implementation of the National Security Law have severely undermined the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong.”