Washington: After China declared primaries held by Hong Kong’s pro-democratic parties on the weekend ‘illegal’, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Legislative Council election in the city in September should be equally free and fair.
"Congratulations to Hong Kong’s pan-democrats for a successful primary. The Legislative Council election in September should be equally free and fair," Pompeo tweeted.
Congratulations to Hong Kong’s pan-democrats for a successful primary. The Legislative Council election in September should be equally free and fair.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 14, 2020
Pompeo also congratulated the city's pan-democrats for a successful primary.
The primary polls, while are not a formal part of Hong Kong’s election process, drew an estimated 600,000 people out to vote for democracy candidates ahead of the legislative council elections scheduled for September, The Guardian reported.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has said that his administration has decided to scrap the preferential economic treatment given to Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a new national security law in the region.
Trump signed an order along with a bipartisan legislation to impose sanctions on Chinese officials violating human rights law in Hong Kong.
"Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China," the US President was quoted as saying in the media.
"No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies," he told reporters on Tuesday.
According to Trump, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which he signed and was passed unanimously in the US Congress earlier in July, will give the President 'powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals and the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong's freedom'.
Unlike the mainland, citizens of Hong Kong have enjoyed freedoms in several things, which is likely to be curbed as Beijing tries to take full control. Known as the Vertical City, the region was under British control until 1997, post which it was handed over to China.
The new law gives Beijing a free hand to carry out trials of 'potential suspects' on the Chinese mainland. It also allows officials to carry out close door trials and designate those damaging public facilities- like transport- terrorists.