US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned China’s plan to impose a new security law in Hong Kong, calling it a “death knell” for the city’s freedoms.
China is seeking to pass a law that would ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” in Hong Kong.
BBC reports that, critics say the law would strip Hong Kong of autonomy and rights not seen in other parts of China.
Mr Pompeo said the decision to bypass Hong Kong’s lawmakers ignores “the will of the people”.
“The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties,” Mr Pompeo said in a statement on Friday.
Mr Pompeo’s intervention is likely to infuriate the Chinese government, whose relations with the US have been strained recently by disputes over trade and the Coronavirus pandemic.
In Hong Kong, pro-democracy activists have been calling for support from western governments after China announced the law.
On Friday, campaigners urged mass protests over the weekend against the law, which they see as an erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The law was submitted at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC), which largely rubber-stamps decisions already taken by the Communist leadership, but is still the most important political event of the year.