US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on Wednesday (local time) said that his country stands with the people of Hong Kong where Beijing has recently imposed the draconian security law, which many say is aimed at crushing dissent.
"In response to Beijing's broken promises, President @realDonaldTrump has taken steps to end Hong Kong's preferential treatment and announced the United States will place a special focus on the admission of Hong Kong residents as refugees. We stand with the Hong Kong people," Pompeo said in a tweet.
US President Donald Trump had on Tuesday stepped up the pressure to punish Beijing for what he called its "aggressive actions" in Hong Kong, a former British colony that was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of autonomy and freedoms not known in mainland China.
"Today I signed legislation, and an executive order to hold China accountable for its aggressive actions against the people of Hong Kong," Trump had told reporters at the White House.
China vowed to take retaliatory measures after Trump ordered an end to preferential trade treatment for Hong Kong and signed legislation allowing sanctions over Beijing's enactment of a draconian security law in the semi-autonomous city.
Tensions between two countries have been mounting over a range of issues -- not just over Hong Kong -- but also over trade, the global coronavirus pandemic, China's military buildup in the South China Sea and its treatment of Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang.
China had defied international warnings by imposing the national security law, which criminalises offences it broadly defines as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation sent a chill through Hong Kong, which last year saw massive, and sometimes violent, pro-democracy protests.
In response, the US Congress unanimously passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which targets police units that have cracked down on Hong Kong protesters as well as Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for imposing the new security law. Mandatory sanctions are also required on banks that conduct business with the officials. (ANI)