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US could reassess Hong Kong's status: Pompeo warns China

US could reassess Hong Kong's status: Pompeo warns China”

The clashes erupted in the House Committee, a body that helps evaluate bills, with security guards dragging protesting pro-democracy legislators from the chamber and arguments flaring up between rival camps.

However, Pompeo now believes that China is interfering in Hong Kong's working.

The Legislative Council was in dispute over who should run the house committee, which scrutinises bills and decides when they are voted on.

"It's painful to watch and it's saddening to see a legislative assembly degenerate into this level of behaviour", pro-Beijing lawmaker Martin Liao said.

A number of legislators were arguing over the leadership of a committee that would greatly affect the bill's progress before security guards dragged legislators from the council. Some tried leaping over the guards from benchtops to take back the chairman's seat, only to be forced back.

At the meeting on May 18, pro-democracy lawmakers held up placards that read "Abuse of Power" and "CCP tramples HK legislature", referring to China's ruling Communist Party.

It is administered by a pro-Beijing local government that is appointed, not popularly elected.

"They continue to diminish freedom in Hong Kong", he said.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have used filibustering and procedural delays to stop voting for a new chair.

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The committee has been without a leader since October, meaning no bills have made it to the legislature for a vote, including one that criminalises ridiculing or altering the national anthem.

Also, on May 18, 15 pro-democracy figures, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai, appeared in court to face charges relating to anti-government protests a year ago over a controversial extradition bill that has since been withdrawn.

That bill, which was eventually withdrawn, also sparked fights in the legislature before the political unrest exploded onto the streets.

Although last year's street protests died down during the pandemic, some demonstrations are expected to resume.

The arrest of 15 activists in April, including politicians, a publishing tycoon and senior barristers, thrust the protest movement back into the spotlight and drew condemnation across the world.

Beijing blames foreign forces for fomenting unrest and says protesters are undermining the rule of law in Hong Kong.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned China on "impinging" on Hong Kong's autonomy and freedom, saying it will inevitably impact US" assessment of the "one country, two systems' policy and the status of the territory.

"Hong Kong is marching towards the beginning of the end of "one country, two systems", said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo after the meeting ended.

"Right now we are delaying our report to Congress that will assess Hong Kong's autonomy, to allow us to account for any additional actions that Beijing may be contemplating in the run-up to the National People's Congress that would further undermine the people of Hong Kong's autonomy as promised by China when they entered the agreement with the people of Hong Kong".



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