Mike Pompeo warns China over interference with American journalists in Hong Kong; threatens HK's autonomy status

WION Web Team
Washington Updated: May 18, 2020, 10:15 AM(IST)

Mike Pompeo (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Mike Pompeo has threatened the Chinese government that their decisions on this matter could affect the US assessment of Hong Kong's autonomy status.

US and China have been at a verbal war for few months now. While the US has blamed China for withholding information about coronavirus, China has blamed US for discriminating with the Chinese journalists.

The war doesn't seem to end, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he has reasons to believe that China is interfering in the work of US journalists in Hong Kong.

Also read: China issues travel advisory, asks foreign diplomats to 'stay away'

In 1997, Britain returned Hong Kong to China. It was established that the territory will have a high degree of autonomy for 50 years. The system formed the basis of the territory`s special status under U.S. law, which has helped it thrive as a world financial center.

However, Pompeo now believes that China is interfering in Hong Kong's working. "These journalists are members of a free press, not propaganda cadres, and their valuable reporting informs Chinese citizens and the world," Pompeo said in a statement.

He also stated earlier this months that the State Department was delaying a report to Congress assessing whether Hong Kong enjoyed sufficient autonomy from China to continue receiving special treatment from the United States. He has now threatened the Chinese government that their decisions on this matter could affect the US assessment of Hong Kong's autonomy status.

He said at the time the delay was to allow the report to account for any actions Beijing might contemplate in the run-up to China's May 22 National People's Congress.

The two countries have had their horns locked regarding treatment of journalists.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration decided to treat five major Chinese-run media houses the same as foreign embassies, requiring them to register their employees and U.S. properties with the State Department.

This was retaliated by the Chinese government, who fired two American journalists stating the reason as an opinion column by Wall Street Journal that called China the "real sick man of Asia".

Later, in March, the US government decreased the number of work visas from 160 to 100 for journalists working at four major Chinese state-owned media. Chinese government, in return, revoked the accreditations of American correspondents with the New York Times, News Corp's Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post whose credentials expire by the end of 2020.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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