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US must stand with Hong Kong against Beijing

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By Trudy Rubin

A major turning point in U.S.-Chinese relations occurred Thursday. It nominally involves the future of Hong Kong, but has major significance for Washington and the wider world.

China's National People's Congress approved a security law that will allow Beijing's security agencies to crack down directly on the civil liberties of Hong Kong residents, who have been protesting the regime's indirect efforts to shrink their freedoms since last summer.

China promised Hong Kong a full range of political freedoms such as freedom of speech and press and an independent judiciary after it regained control of the territory from Great Britain in 1997. Hong Kong autonomy, under the "one country, two systems" framework, was endorsed by U.S. legislation in 1992.

However, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been eager in recent years to exert tighter Chinese control over the territory and apparently believes he can do so now with minimal cost. Buoyed by Beijing's success (after a rocky start) in crushing COVID-19, in contrast to the chaotic U.S. response, he clearly thinks the world will abandon Hong Kong.

That would be a dangerous mistake, because Hong Kong has become the symbol of Xi's aggressive global approach.

"Hong Kong is a test of whether people (around the world) kowtow to China, whether they say no to pressure from China to........

© The Korea Times