China likely to face sanctions, White House adviser Robert O’Brien cautionsWorld | 25 May 2020 9:50 am
The US government will likely impose sanctions on China if Beijing implements national security law that would give it greater control over autonomous Hong Kong, White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said Sunday, CNBC reports.
The draft legislation represents a takeover of Hong Kong, O’Brien said, and as a consequence U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would likely be unable to certify that the city maintains a “high degree” of autonomy. This would result in the imposition of sanctions against China under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, O’Brien said.
Pompeo has already called the proposal a “death knell” for Hong Kong’s autonomy. O’Brien warned that Hong Kong could lose its status as a major hub for global finance.
“It’s hard to see how Hong Kong could remain the Asian financial center that it’s become if China takes over,” O’Brien told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” He said financial services initially came to Hong Kong because of the rule of law that protected free enterprise and a capitalist system.
“If all those things go away, I’m not sure how the financial community can stay there. ...They’re not going to stay in Hong Kong to be dominated by the People’s Republic of China, the communist party.”
A draft decision on “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms” for Hong Kong was submitted to China’s parliament Friday, according to state news agency Xinhua. A document explaining the decision said the one-country two systems principle “has achieved unprecedented success in Hong Kong,” but the “increasingly notable national security risks” in the city “have become a prominent problem,” according to Xinhua.