WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress should enact legislation that would suspend the special economic status Hong Kong enjoys under U.S. law should China deploy forces to crush protests in the territory, a congressional advisory body said on Thursday.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), which is tasked with monitoring the national security implications of U.S. relations with Beijing, issued the call in its annual report among a series of tough proposals reflecting a “markedly more confrontational” relationship.
Beijing - World - Class - Willingness - Action
It said that, with Beijing seeking to build a “world class” military and warning of its willingness to take military action to defend its interests, Washington “must plan for worst-case scenarios, while trying to achieve the best ones.”
A push in the U.S. Congress for legislation to support pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and pressure China to refrain from a violent crackdown has faced obstacles, raising questions about whether it will ever become law.
House - Representatives - Hong - Kong - Rights
The House of Representatives unanimously passed Hong Kong human rights legislation last month, including a bill that would place Hong Kong’s special treatment under tighter scrutiny.
A Senate committee approved a similar measure in September but it has yet to be scheduled for a vote by the full body and the White House has not said whether President Donald Trump would sign or veto such a bill.
Commission - Recommendations - Legislation - Hong - Kong
The commission’s recommendations go further, calling for legislation to suspend Hong Kong’s special status if China “deploys People’s Liberation Army or People’s Armed Police forces to engage in armed intervention in Hong Kong.”
It also urged Congress to direct the State Department to develop specific benchmarks to measure the “high degree of autonomy” the territory is meant to enjoy from Beijing.
Senators - Process - Thursday - Senate - Bill
Two senior senators began a process on Thursday aimed at quickly passing the Senate bill, amid a surge in violence following months of protests in Hong...
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