US declared Hong Kong no longer autonomous as tension rising in Pacific

American hopes of system change in China dashed

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has summed up the dejected mood in Washington while admitting that Washington had once hoped to use the city to change the system in Beijing, but failed. United States once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself.
Mike Pompeo’s statement shows that there were high hopes in the American administration that old Chinese system would collapse like Soviet Union or gradually reformed to fully restore the capitalist system. Chinese leadership did introduce reforms since 1978 and embraced the  market. Chinese leadership integrated with world market and economy. It allowed the market economy to flourish in China but only with public sector playing the leading role.
In recent years, Chinese state has further tightened its grip on the economy. IMF, World Bank and leading neoliberal economists see this move as a gross violation of free market and neoliberal economics. American administration increasingly views the Chinese economic model as a threat to neoliberal economic model.China established a hybird economic system. The dominant public sector with state playing leading role in public planning and investment. But at the same time has dynamic free market. The chinese called it market socialism. 
Mike Pompeo also declared that Hong Kong can no longer be considered autonomous from mainland China, “I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner” as before Britain returned the city to China in 1997.
The 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act requires Foggy Bottom to assess and certify the city’s autonomy from China, so it can continue – or not – to receive special status regarding trade and other relations with the US.
In practice, the decision most likely means the city would lose privileged status in doing business with the US, which would actually fit better with Beijing’s plans for reintegrating Hong Kong into its constitutional order.
Trump administration seems frustrated with Chinese leadership as China continues to stamp its authority as a major global power. The American administration is continued to blame China for the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has almost halted the American economy. As the result of coronavirus crisis, American economy is facing the serious most economic crisis since 1929.  The Trump administration is taking one action after the other to put pressure on Chinese leadership.
There is no doubt that tension between US and China is rising on different fronts. The trade war between the two largest economies in the world has already intensified. The geopolitical power struggle is also rising. China is increasingly challenging the American hegemony in Pacific and other regions.
 On the one hand, the American administration wants to contain the rise of China. On the other hand, the Chinese leadership wants to protect its political and economic interests. So the struggle is on.   
China has introduced new security legislation that would outlaw “treason, secession, sedition [or] subversion against the Central People's Government.” Honk Kong has seen a big pro-democracy protest movement last year.  China accused US for backing the protests in Hong Kong. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China will take “necessary countermeasures to combat foreign interference” in Hong Kong.

The hawkish neocons within Trump administration wants to go all out against China. One Anti-China hawks Gordon Chang called for sanctions and hitting Beijing “so hard... that the communists will no longer be standing.”
Another right wing Republican hawk John Noonan envisioned NATO beefing up its presence in Europe to free up US troops for a redeployment to the Pacific, while flooding Taiwan “with asymmetric defensive weapons.” In a tweet, he said that “Hong Kong is being swallowed whole. Capital will flee, and swift economic sanctions should follow. Taiwan will be next.”

Taiwan is an island ruled by descendants of the Chinese nationalist government that lost the civil war to the Mao led Red Army in 1949 and was evacuated to the island formerly ruled by Japan by US forces in 1949. Beijing claims the island as an integral part of Chinese territory.
Hong Kong had been under British rule since 1842, after the city was seized as spoils of the first Opium War against China. The entire territory – last expanded by the 99-year lease in 1898 – was ceded back to China in 1997. 
                                                                  Khalid Bhatti

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