Washington's Hong Kong act will have a boomerang effect
Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, drawing condemnation from Beijing. The act, if it passes the Senate and then becomes law, will not only harm relations between China and the United States and severely damage Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, but also cause boomerang effects to the United States itself.
The act requires Washington to review Hong Kong's autonomy annually to justify the special trading status the city receives under United States law. This is de facto interference in China's domestic affairs, and is contrary to the basic principles and promises Washington made when it established diplomatic relations with Beijing.
In their jointly-published 2019 ranking, the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute listed Hong Kong as the freest economy in terms of economic freedom. The city ranked third after New Zealand and Switzerland in the category of human freedom, 14 places ahead of the United States. [Photo: IC]
What Hong Kong needs most right now is an end to the riots and violence, the restoration of public order, and maintenance of the rule of law. Intervention by the United States in the affairs of Hong Kong will only inflame the rioter's aggression and aggravate the already challenging public security situation. This would further damage Hong Kong's development at a time when some institutions are already predicting that Hong Kong's economy will flatline or contract this year.
As one of the major trading partners of the United States in Asia, disorder in Hong Kong offers no benefits to America's economy. Over the past decade, the United States enjoyed a surplus of some 297 billion U.S. dollars from its trade with Hong Kong – the surplus was nearly 34 billion U.S. dollars last year alone. Scrapping Hong Kong's special trading status will only make Washington's trade deficit worse. Hong Kong is also a major destination for investment by the United States: In 2017, its direct investments in the city surpassed 81 billion U.S. dollars. And a loss of stability in Hong Kong will undermine the interests of the 85,000 American nationals living in the city and the 1,300-plus American companies operating there.
Washington needs to put an end to the efforts to bring the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law. The support it would provide to rioters in the city harms the interests of the people of Hong Kong as well as the interests of the United States. And, as a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, Beijing would definitely take forceful countermeasures in response.