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China’s Parliament approves Hong Kong security law; Donald Trump hints at action against Beijing

China’s Parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly approved directly imposing national security legislation on Hong Kong to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in a city roiled last year by months of anti-government protests.

BEIJING: China’s Parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly approved directly imposing national security legislation on Hong Kong to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in a city roiled last year by months of anti-government protests.

The National People`s Congress voted 2,878 to 1 in favour of the decision to empower its standing committee to draft the legislation, with six abstentions.

The legislators gathered in the Great Hall of the People burst into sustained applause when the vote tally was projected onto screens.

Meanwhile, the US has called for a UN Security Council meeting on Hong Kong, as the Trump administration indicated that it will not keep quite on China’s new national security law to curb freedom in the former British colony.

US President Donald Trump has indicated that the United States was working on a strong response to China’s planned national security legislation for Hong Kong, which was approved by the Chinese Parliament on Thursday.

The newly approved security law reduce Hong Kong’s separate legal status.

At a White House news briefing on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he planned sanctions against China over Hong Kong and if he intended to put restrictions on visas for students and researchers from the country.

“We’re doing something now. I think you’ll find it very interesting … I’ll be talking about it over the next couple of days,” he replied.

Pressed if this would include sanctions, he said: “No, it’s something you’re going to be hearing about … before the end of the week, very powerfully, I think.”

Trump did not elaborate, but White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said earlier the president was displeased by the proposed security law and found it “hard to see how Hong Kong can remain a financial hub if China takes over”.

Asked if this might mean an end to special economic treatment Washington affords to Hong Kong, McEnany said she had nothing to announce about the precise response.

Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, earlier called Beijing’s actions “very disturbing.” “China is making a big mistake, frankly,” he said.

Kudlow said Washington would welcome back any American companies from Hong Kong or China’s mainland.

Proposals discussed so far include tax breaks, subsidies including a potential $25bn “re-shoring fund” and new local content rules.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is due to release a congressionally mandated assessment on whether Hong Kong enjoys sufficient autonomy to justify continued special economic treatment, said last week the legislation would be the “death knell” for the territory’s autonomy.

If the State Department decides to decertify the territory, Trump would then have to decide whether to end some, all or none of the privileges Hong Kong currently enjoys.

Trump has previously warned of a strong reaction and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said the legislation could lead to US sanctions.

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