- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The U.S. on Wednesday announced that it is suspending three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong after China imposed a controversial national security law on the city that critics say will impede on its autonomy.

State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement that the agreements covered the surrender of fugitive offenders, transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships.

“These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the National Security Law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” she said.

China in June imposed the new security law expanding Beijing’s role in controlling law enforcement and political expression in Hong Kong.

Critics, including the U.S., say it does not align with the 1997 Joint Declaration between Britain and China that bound Beijing’s communist rulers to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy as a special administrative region and to leave its liberal economy and government for 50 years under the formulation “one country, two systems.”

“The Chinese Communist Party has taken drastic steps to erode the high degree of autonomy that Beijing itself promised to the United Kingdom and the people of Hong Kong for 50 years under the UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Ms. Ortagus said.

“President Trump has made clear that the United States will, therefore, treat Hong Kong as ‘one country, one system’ and take action against individuals who have crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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