As China follows through with its threat to clamp down on Hong Kong’s independence, imposing its will and threatening citizens with imprisonment for the crime of disagreeing with the government, the United States is ceasing its unique relationship with Hong Kong and will treat the area as part of China, and additionally, will freeze the bank accounts and property of any Chinese nationals involved with the oppression of Hong Kong should it reach the United States.
In response to China passing new legislation that largely invalidates its previous agreement to allow Hong Kong to remain independent within China, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday instructing the government to begin the process of changing its relationship with Hong Kong to match its relationship with China. This will include a series of economic actions, make it more difficult to move between the countries, and subject Hong Kong to any sanctions placed against China.
Additionally, President Trump ordered the United States to freeze the assets of any Chinese nationals who the government identifies as responsible for the oppression of the people of Hong Kong.
Section 4 of the executive order allows the government to seize “All property and interests in property that are in the United States” or that comes into the United States that is determined by the government to be owned by someone who was “involved, directly or indirectly, in the coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning” the people of Hong Kong or helping China impose its rule in the region.
The order extends to anyone who fulfills “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Hong Kong” or engages in the “censorship or other activities with respect to Hong Kong that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Hong Kong.”
China has granted itself the power to stamp out the type of protests witnessed last year with extreme force, and has already used several forms of crowd control that protesters in the United States consider to be cruel or chemical weapons.
Protests erupted after China passed a new law greatly expanding its power to punish dissenters in Hong Kong, and with the new legislation backing them, police met protesters fighting for the right to disagree with the government with a variety of crowd control measures that are quickly being banned across the United States.
In one video, police pursued protesters while firing pepper balls at them as they ran away from the scene.
Police chase protesters gathered at Times Square and fire pepper balls at them in a day of protests against the new national security law.
Video: SCMP/Zoe Low pic.twitter.com/6ZTkd12hDQ
— SCMP Hong Kong (@SCMPHongKong) July 1, 2020
Last year, as the protesters began to face increasing surveillance and threats of arrest from China, many began to wear Lebron James, Pepe the Frog, and Winnie the Pooh masks while protesting.