National security law: US ends exports of defence equipment and restricts dual-use tech to Hong Kong

Jodi Xu Klein
·3-min read

The United States will stop exporting defence equipment to Hong Kong because of Beijing’s pending implementation of a national security law, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday.

As China moves forward with the national security law, “we can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China”, Pompeo said in a statement.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to eviscerate Hong Kong’s freedoms has forced the Trump administration to re-evaluate its policies toward the territory,” Pompeo said. The US “is forced to take this action to protect US national security”.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

LATEST: US suspends Hong Kong import rights over autonomy fears

Previously, Hong Kong had enjoyed special privileges that allowed it to import American defence equipment that Beijing did not have. It was also able to import dual-use technologies without the licences required when the same items were sold to mainland China.

“We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People’s Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the [Chinese Communist Party] by any means necessary,” he said.

The announcement came after the administration and lawmakers from both parties denounced the new national security law, which threatens to curb free speech and dissent in Hong Kong after a year of political tumult.

In May, the State Department told Congress that Hong Kong was no longer considered autonomous from China, an assessment that could threaten the city’s long-standing special trading status.

Under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed by the US Congress in November, the administration must decide every year whether governance of Hong Kong is suitably distinct from the mainland, which is the prerequisite for the special status to continue.

Hong Kong PLA garrison live-fire video could be ‘warning to separatists’: analyst

A revocation of Hong Kong’s trading status would put an end to the preferential economic and trade treatment the city has enjoyed and which has, at least partly, contributed to making it a regional financial and business hub.

The State Department said Monday’s move was a consequence of Beijing’s decision to violate its own commitments under the 1997 Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The actions were meant to “target the regime, not the Chinese people,” Pompeo said. “But given Beijing now treats Hong Kong as ‘one country, one system,’ so must we.”

Sign up now for a 50% early bird discount on the 100+ page China Internet Report 2020 Pro Edition, which includes deep-dive analysis, trends, and case studies on the 10 most important internet sectors. Now in its 3rd year, this go-to source for understanding China tech also comes with exclusive access to 6 webinars with C-level executives. Offer valid until 30 June 2020.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article National security law: US ends exports of defence equipment and restricts dual-use tech to Hong Kong first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.