President Donald Trump said Tuesday he has signed off on an executive order stripping Hong Kong of its special status under US law amid fierce tensions between Washington and Beijing.
"Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China -- no special privileges, no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies," Trump told reporters during a Rose Garden news conference.
Trump also said he signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which previously passed Congress and mandates sanctions on entities that violate China's obligations under the treaty which passed the semi-autonomous territory from British control to China. It further mandates the administration to impose sanctions on banks that do business with any individual who is designated under the act.
The actions are being taken over China's decision to apply a controversial security law to Hong Kong.
China's National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body, formally passed the Hong Kong security legislation in June. It was subsequently signed into law by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Activists fear it will be used by Beijing to quash dissent in the territory.
A 23-year-old man in Hong Kong was booked for terrorism and secessionist activities on July 3, becoming the first person charged under the new security law.
Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region that has been part of China since 1997, when the UK handed over the former colony to Beijing.
Since last year, it has been mired in protests sparked by a move to legalize the extradition of people to mainland China.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong authorities also banned the singing of protest anthems in schools.
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