Lanhee Chen: China Steps Back on Promise to Hong Kong

China has now moved to exert more control over Hong Kong, ending the special treatment that was guaranteed to it when the former British colony was turned over to Beijing’s control in 1997. At the time, China promised Hong Kong would be governed for 50 years under the principle of “one country, two systems.” In other words, Hong Kong would retain its own legal system and police force through 2047.

But President Xi Jinping of China is now breaking that promise by imposing a sweeping new national security law on Hong Kong that would criminalize acts of protest against the Chinese government.

The American response was swift and appropriately strong—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally declared that the U.S. no longer considers Hong Kong autonomous from China.

It’s a move with numerous ramifications that will surely provoke Beijing, but sends the unmistakable signal that our support for the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong will not waver.