back to article USA ends Hong Kong's special treatment, crimping flow of tech to territory

US President Trump has signed an order to end Hong Kong's special status, meaning that restrictions on high-tech exports to mainland China now apply to the Special Administrative Region as well. The change of Status, announced on Tuesday, come weeks after Beijing imposed on Hong Kong a harsh new national security law that …

  1. John Savard Silver badge


    Unfortunately, Cantonese isn't really spoken much in Taiwan. Otherwise, for banks in Hong Kong that need advanced security systems from the U.S. to operate, relocating to Taiwan would be an obvious move. Of course, there's always Singapore - or even the Cayman Islands, since many people in Hong Kong can speak English.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Relocate?

      Taiwan would be pointless. Companies were going to Hong Kong because it was a gateway to the mainland, particularly in the financial sector.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    The last paragraph in the article says a lot, HK officials who are perceived to be undermining the One country two systems accord are to be penalised but with these new sanctions, Trump is undermining the accord and driving HK downward, if it can no longer operate eell and securely without American kit it will collapse as a financial hub leaving who to take up the reins? Singapore? Taiwan? Korea?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hong Kong was given special access to American technology not afforded to mainland China.

      Now China has effectively illegally annexed Hong Kong, Hong Kong is no longer semi-independent and therefore no longer eligible for the special dispensation.

      If Winnie The Pooh wanted HK to keep getting special treatment, he shouldn't have broken international law and effectively seized it.

      1. ratfox

        There's no such thing as international law. At best, there's international peer pressure.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ... and in this case, signed treaties that Winnie The Pooh has ripped up.

        2. Al Black

          International Law

          You are correct: "International Law" is unenforceable, so doesn't really exist.

      2. Jason Bloomberg

        China has effectively illegally annexed Hong Kong

        Or: Legally taken control of Hong Kong prematurely.

        I'm not defending China, but, at the proverbial end of the day, Hong Kong's fate and new found status is an inevitability.

        America doing now what she would likely have done in thirty years anyway does little more than equally prematurely accept that.

        I expect China will do little more than shrug.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's not even premature. That security law was always planned in the Basic Law, but failed to be implemented, and the previous Chinese government under the more centrist Hu Jintao let it go (that was probably also because then, Hong Kong was an important part of the Chinese economy, which is not the case anymore).

          This was decided in 1990, in accordance with the China-UK agreement of 1984. So the UK and others acting all surprised now is just that, an act.

          "Critics say the introduction of the law this way amounts to a breach of the "one country, two systems" principle, which is so important to Hong Kong - but clearly it is technically possible to do this."

          1. ckm5

            What this is has done is to make it abundantly clear the the Chinese government doesn't give to shits about either it's people or democratic principles. The democratic & free world was willing to give China the benefit of the doubt while it modernized as it was thought that capitalism & wealth would lead to more democratic tendencies.

            Between this, wholesale theft of IP, extinction of minorities and expansionism in the South China Sea, it's pretty clear what Whinnie the Pooh thinks their trajectory should be. There is no reason to be accommodating anymore.

            It's actually quite sad. China had a moment in time where it could have become a great country, instead it decided that the worst kind of dystopic, intrusive totalitarianism and repression was the way forward. Fundamentally, when the regime is scared of it's people, it's because they are weak...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The UK held Hong Kong for about 150 years, after conquering it for the worst possible reason, forcing China to buy its opium, and during that time, the people there were never British citizens, never had the right to move to the UK, never had the right to vote for their leaders.

              So those great words about democracy, do you know how they sound to Chinese leaders, and to a great many Chinese people? Like the BS they are. Then like now, they see it as a way to keep China under Western control.

              1. Bronze badge

                The only reason someone would think that in the mainland is because Chinese media brainwashing is so thorough that there would be no other option. Chinese state-controlled media outlets (which is all of the legal ones) continually smear capitalism and independent thought despite their economy being so thoroughly dependent on the former and arguably the latter. Many Chinese that are lucky enough to not live in an impoverished shithole think that the US is some kind or demon hell-bent on upsurping the power, intellect, and overall greatness of the Chinese people (even though their tech and consumer product sectors so often steals everyone else's content, especially from the US) while those living in the dirty barely-livable conditions that stretch across the rest of the country are told to blame the US for their poor condition.

                If you go against any of this ideology, you are slowly withered away until you submit or just outright killed. With that hanging over your head I see no other way for anyone to get by than to submit. The government is allowed to continue doing this because the rest of the civilized world is so reliant on the Chinese for one reason or another. Say what you will about democratic ideals and capitalist economies, but at least the UK isn't so blatant about killing people that don't follow its state-sponsored rhetoric.

                The worst part in my world is there are a lot of amazing makers in China that also get me stuck in this paradox, where I can't get the product anywhere else in the world and am forced to support the regime if I want the cool trinkets.

          2. PhilipN Silver badge

            I shan't respond to all the other nonsense being spouted here but it is always possible to present legislation - particularly when it has been vilified, long before anyone read it, in the Western press - in a negative light but some perspective is in order lest people continue to think HK was always heaven on earth (it probably was for the British Army who had nothing to do but polish their kit, swim and play tennis) and is no longer. Just as an example one item from the BBC piece :

            "Beijing will have power over how the law should be interpreted"

            Umm yes - in this case, and tightly circumscribed, and nowhere near as extensive as the situation before 1997 when all laws might have to be kicked up to the Privy Council* for interpretation.

            *That was in London, by the way, And go ahead and answer on the basis that we are "fair, clean-minded, decent people" but they are not.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          China will shrug until it gets cut off from the west. Then it's GDP will fall and it's leaders won't be able to maintain the pretence that they know best.

          Obviously China will fake the numbers, but the Chinese people will notice the drop in their living standards.

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Unfortunately, most won't. Or rather, are used to it.

            Premier of China announced with anti-West pride a month ago (June 2020) that China now has 40% of its peasants earning up to US$1,700/yr (ie, less than $4.65/day).

            CCP has used its plebs as pawns from the get-go.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "If Winnie The Pooh wanted HK to keep getting special treatment"

        But that's the point, maybe he doesn't want that special treatment anymore. HK went from being 18.4% of the Chinese economy in 1997 to 3.7% last year. It's on its way to become a minor Chinese city, but it was still important for some things, as the article below points out.

        There could be a bet that if the special treatment by the US disappears, then investors will prefer to go to Shanghai directly, where the central government will be able to have even more control.

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "If Winnie The Pooh wanted HK to keep getting special treatment, he shouldn't have broken international law and effectively seized it."

        You can't seize or annexe what you already own. "All" he's done is renege on a treaty. It's not good, especially for the people of HK, but it's nothing that another orange tinged Pooh Bear shaped world leader hasn't also done recently (admittedly with less dire consequences). Anyone watching knew this would happen eventually. The only surprise to me is that it's taken this long.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Rather inevitable

    As China asserts its domination over the island, it is obvious that the USA was going to adjust its policies.

    Good to know that there are some parts of that failing government that are still working.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Rather inevitable

      This initiative and decision was Trump's.

  4. PhilipN Silver badge

    Dig deeper

    A huge portion of HK trade with USA was in effect products going to and from ....... China.

    And apart from the highest end chips and other stuff I would have thought that most US products could easily be replaced with those coming from Taiwan and China. I barely remember the last time I saw Made in USA on a decent bit of kit.

    Does anyone know PRECISELY what we are talking about here?

  5. Al Black


    "Such moves makes it more difficult for Hong Kong companies to important American hardware and software" should read "Such moves makes it more difficult for Hong Kong companies to import American hardware and software".

    Trump is doing the right thing: HK has become a loophole for Mainland China to exploit, rather than the "Gateway to China" it is often touted to be. HK independence is dead: they are now taking orders from the Mafia Cartel known as the Chinese Communist Party.

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