On Thursday, the President of the U.S. signed a note extending provisional safe haven to some specific residents of Hong Kong in the United States due to the current repression and deflation of democracy by China. Jen Psaki, the press secretary of the White House, stated that the presidential memorandum directs the delay of removal of thousands of people Hong Kong residents who are present in the U.S., allowing them a temporary safe haven.
HONG KONG UPDATE: On August 5, @POTUS Biden directed Deferred Enforced Departure for Hong Kong residents in the U.S. for 18 months, joining America’s partners & allies in offering safe haven should residents fear returning to Hong Kong.
— U.S. Asia Pacific Media Hub (@eAsiaMediaHub) August 6, 2021
Biden ordered the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to implement a delay of removal for another one and half years for the residents of Hong Kong in the United States, mentioning compelling foreign policy reasons. While referring to China, the U.S. president said in a memo that during the last year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continued its attack on the autonomy of Hong Kong, discouraging its remaining institutions and processes, implementing restrictions on academic freedom, and snatching the press freedom.
What is Chinese National Security Law
The move comes over a year after China imposed a national security law and performed criminalized acts of secession, terrorism, rebellion, and collusion in Hong Kong, which led to a crackdown on the opposition. The People’s Republic of China closed down a newspaper and seemed to ban public protests and jailed or forced to exile approximately all of the top pro-democracy personalities of the country, including politicians and activists.
Psaki said that Thursday’s action of the president reveals his strong support for the residents in Hong Kong regardless of ongoing repression from the PRC and clarifies that the U.S. will not stand idly by as the PRC breaches its promises to the international community and Hong Kong. Furthermore, she added that given the silencing of the press, the politically motivated trials and arrests, and the waning space for democratic opposition and elections, the U.S. will continue to support the Hong Kong people and take all necessary steps.
Last month, the U.S. president announced a national emergency concerning Hong Kong because China moves to destabilize the autonomy of Hong Kong fundamentally. In response, the White House said that it poses an extraordinary and unusual threat to the foreign policy, economy nans national security of the U.S. Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State, said the recent move of the president sends a clear message that the U.S. determinedly stands with the residents of Hong Kong.
Will these Hong Kong residents be eligible for Employment Authorization?
Alejandro Mayorkas, the United States Secretary of Homeland Security, said those eligible Hong Kong residents might also seek employment approval. Furthermore, Biden’s latest move will address the erosion of the rule of law in the ex-British colony, which returned to the control of China in 1997.
In July, the government of the United States applied more sanctions on the officials of China in Hong Kong and warned businesses of the risks of operating under a Chinese security law implemented in 2020 to ban what it considers secessionism, collusion, subversions, or terrorism with foreign forces.
In response, China retaliated last month against the actions of the United States with its own sanctions on American nationals, including Wilbur Ross, the former American commerce secretary. The spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, said that the characterization of the Hong Kong situation confuses black and white and the Chinese national security law established protected freedoms and a safer environment.
He added that such moves disrespect and misrepresent facts and totally interfere in the internal affairs of China while referring to the United States announcement. The foreign ministry office of China in Hong Kong stated on Friday that the offer was an effort to bad-mouth Hong Kong and engage in activities to destroy the stability and prosperity of the city.