Hong Kong’s special status will be reassessed under US law if the city’s autonomy continues to deteriorate, according to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), a human rights monitoring unit under the US Congress.
The Chinese government’s interference in the Chief Executive election in Hong Kong on Sunday has undermined the city’s autonomy, Senator Marco Rubio, chair of CECC, said in a statement.
“Sunday’s election for Chief Executive shows the people of Hong Kong’s legitimate demands for universal suffrage and true representative government remain unfulfilled,” Rubio said. “Beijing’s clear interference in these elections is yet another example of a precipitous erosion in Hong Kong’s long-cherished autonomy.”
“Chief Executive-Elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was clearly Beijing’s favored candidate, just like her predecessors, and this will make it exceedingly difficult to deal with the constant erosions of Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law,” said Representative Christopher Smith, cochair of CECC.
“If Hong Kong is to become just another mainland Chinese city under the new Chief Executive’s leadership, we will have to reassess whether Hong Kong warrants special status under US law,” he added.
The CECC also pointed out that several Hong Kong protest movement leaders faced a new round of charges – relating to their involvement in pro-democracy protests – just hours after the election results were declared.
The commission urged Lam to take meaningful steps toward political reform in Hong Kong.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has yet to comment on the CECC’s statement.