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US condemns China's national security law
[WASHINGTON] The US condemned China's plan to enact sweeping national security legislation in Hong Kong, with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo calling the proposal "disastrous" and urging Beijing to reconsider.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said America should urge the world to condemn China on Hong Kong. "We should not remain silent," he told CNBC.
The US condemns China's "proposal to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong," Mr Pompeo said in an emailed statement. "The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal."
"The decision to bypass Hong Kong's well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised for Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-filed agreement," the statement said.
President Donald Trump had earlier warned that the US would respond to the planned move in Beijing, amid escalating tensions between the two powers. "I don't know what it is because nobody knows yet," he told reporters at the White House about the possible Chinese actions. "If it happens, we'll address that issue very strongly."
Their comments came as Hong Kong braced for fresh demonstrations heading into the weekend after China announced its intentions. Residents are concerned about the future of "one country, two systems," the principle by which the Asian financial hub is overseen by Beijing.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Friday that the city would fully cooperate with China to enact the legislation.
Mrs Lam also said the legislation wouldn't affect capitalism and could bolster business confidence in Hong Kong.
She said citizens should view the law "positively" and said there was urgent need for the measure.
Her comments are likely to anger demonstrators and fuel protests that have resurged in recent weeks following months of disruption leveled by the virus. Already, demonstrators have called for rallies against Beijing-backed legislation, including a bill that would criminalise disrespecting China's national anthem, on Sunday and Wednesday.
Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front - which organised some of the biggest marches during a historic summer of pro-democracy protests last year - told reporters he hoped for a large turnout when his group called its next demonstration. He didn't disclose further details.