President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation that gives his administration more power to impose sanctions on Chinese officials over the imposition of a draconian national security law on Hong Kong.
Mr Trump said the Hong Kong Autonomy Act would give the White House “powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals and the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom”. The president also signed an executive order removing special trade and economic privileges that Hong Kong has enjoyed for years.
The move comes weeks after China circumvented the Hong Kong legislature and introduced a harsh anti-subversion law aimed at stamping out the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony. Mr Trump said Hong Kong would lose its position as a competitive financial hub because of the recent developments.
“Hong Kong in my opinion . . . will no longer be able to compete with free markets,” Mr Trump said at a news conference at the White House. “We’re going to do a lot more business because . . . we just lost one competitor.”