Washington, United States:
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that Hong Kong citizens at the moment in the United States who worry for their security amid the political crackdown back home will get short-term secure haven.
Biden mentioned the move recognizes “the significant erosion” of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong by the Chinese government.
“By unilaterally imposing on Hong Kong the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the People’s Republic of China has undermined the enjoyment of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong,” he mentioned in a statement.
Biden cited the “politically motivated arrests” of more than one hundred opposition politicians, activists and protesters on charges beneath the national safety law, which includes allegations of secession, subversion and terrorist activities.
More than 10,000 other people have been arrested in relation to anti-government protests, he mentioned.
The new selection extends “deferred enforced departure” (DED) to Hong Kong residents at the moment in the United States, permitting them to stay for 18 months even if their visas have expired.
It differs from the more formal immigration class of “temporary protected status” (TPS), which is offered to foreign nationals stuck in the United States due to organic disasters or political upheavals back home.
“Democracy has dimmed”
There was new instant reaction from China or Hong Kong on Biden’s announcement.
China introduced the national safety law in Hong Kong on June 30, 2020, providing Beijing more energy more than the territory’s judiciary and criminalizing quite a few forms of political activity.
Critics say it is becoming used to undermine the “one country, two systems” architecture for the city’s governance, established when Britain handed its former colony back to China in 1997.
The arrests of opposition politicians has stifled cost-free speech and left activists in worry of detention or other punishment, which includes these overseas.
In June, Hong Kong police raided the offices of the feisty pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, shutting it down and arresting important executives.
Under the national safety law, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned, “Hong Kong’s promise of democracy has dimmed.”
“(China) has fundamentally altered the bedrock of Hong Kong’s institutions and suppressed freedoms of Hong Kongers,” he mentioned in a statement.
Biden’s declaration came almost 3 weeks soon after the US government formally warned American corporations of the “growing risks” of operating in the Asian economic hub.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry mentioned the July 16 move was created to “groundlessly smear Hong Kong’s business environment” and retaliated by slapping sanctions on seven US men and women and organizations
The Washington-based Hong Kong Democratic Council, one of these hit with sanctions, mentioned Biden’s offer you of DED status “will provide a critical lifeline for Hong Kongers currently in the US.”
Safe haven “will mean the difference between living freely while continuing to fight for human rights and democracy in Hong Kong and being forced to return to Hong Kong spending years or even life behind bars,” mentioned the council’s managing director Samuel Chu.
Chu, a US citizen for whom Hong Kong authorities have issued an arrest warrant, mentioned DED status could potentially advantage an estimated 1,500-2,000 Hong Kong students in the United States and possibly tens of thousands of other people who entered the nation on tourist or other short-term visas.
Offering secure haven to Hong Kongers is probably to additional sour relations in between Beijing and Washington.
The two sides are facing off on a extended list of concerns which includes China’s threats to US-backed Taiwan and its contested territorial claims in the South China Sea, US allegations that China methodically steals American intellectual home and the sweeping repression of Uyghurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang area.
When a leading US diplomat, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, visited Beijing in July for talks, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng mentioned Washington have to quit seeing China as an “imaginary enemy.”
“The hope may be that by demonizing China, the US could somehow… blame China for its own structural problems,” Xie mentioned.