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China must respect Hong Kong’s autonomy — or face the consequences

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Marco Rubio , a Republican, is a U.S. senator for Florida.

By choosing violence and intimidation to silence Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party is once again showing its true nature. Beijing recently reinforced its People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong with thousands of troops and authorized a new wave of arrests to intimidate peaceful demonstrators. In parallel, it reportedly blocked the Hong Kong government’s proposal to work out a compromise with the city’s massive and grassroots pro-democracy movement.

What began as a protest against an unjust extradition bill backed by China has now become a fight for Hong Kong’s autonomy and future. Yet what’s happening in Hong Kong is not simply China’s internal affair. The United States and other responsible nations are not watching from the sidelines.

The extradition bill is only the latest example of China’s many broken promises to the Hong Kong people and the world. Most obviously, the Chinese Communist Party is preventing the city’s government from acting with the autonomy that Beijing had promised it in a legally binding 1984 international treaty with Britain, under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, and in China’s diplomatic outreach to the United States and other nations.

In 2014, Beijing also backed off its commitment to allow Hong Kong citizens to choose their city’s chief executive through universal suffrage, a provocation that........

© Washington Post