U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien threatened today that Washington would impose sanctions on China if Beijing passes a national security law on Hong Kong territory.
“It’s hard to see how Hong Kong will remain an Asian financial hub if China takes over,” Robert O’Brien told NBC, adding that this would be a “big mistake” by Beijing.
He warned that the “financial community” would not stay in Hong Kong in this case.
O’Brien explained that the State Department will not be able to confirm whether Hong Kong holds a “high level of autonomy”, which will lead to legal implications.
“China depends on capital from the rest of the world. If they lose access to it through Hong Kong, it will be a huge blow to Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China,” he said.
Beijing has announced a draft law on national security that will set up Chinese intelligence agencies in Hong Kong. This document has raised fears about the fate of the “one-two-place system” formula that has ruled Hong Kong since the British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
This agreement guarantees the vast freedom of Hong Kong that is lacking in Chinese territory, including freedom of the press and an independent judiciary.
Authorities in Beijing say the proposed law is necessary and will not harm Hong Kong’s autonomy.
On Saturday, about 200 politicians from around the world said in a statement that the proposed laws were a “comprehensive attack” on Hong Kong autonomy, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.
China said the complaints were an interference in domestic affairs and ruled out the possibility that the proposed law could hurt foreign investment.