US calls for ‘open’ Hong Kong

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In a move that angered democracy campaigners, China’s legislative body the National People’s Congress (NPC) adopted a resolution yesterday stating that all political reforms in Hong Kong, a key Asian commercial hub, be approved by Beijing.

The legislation was the first-ever mainland ruling on Hong Kong’s electoral process set out under the Basic Law, the territory’s mini-constitution that has been enforced since the 1997 transfer of sovereignty to China after 156 years of British rule.

The US State Department, reacting to the Chinese ruling, said the Basic Law guaranteed “one country, two systems” and that it was “critical” there be a fully autonomous and open Hong Kong governed by the rule of law.

The US is the second-largest trading partner of Hong Kong.

More than 50,000 American citizens live and work in Hong Kong and 1100 American firms operate there with more than $US38.5 billion in investments.