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tensions rising

U.S. announces end of Hong Kong's special status

The United States has revoked Hong Kong's special trading status, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in a statement Monday.

The decision comes as Beijing prepares to pass a national security law that many fear will severely curtail Hong Kong's autonomy and has prompted the U.S. to, among other things, place visa restrictions on some members of the Chinese Communist Party and end defense exports to Hong Kong. In his statement, Ross said the new security measures will increase the risk "that sensitive U.S. technology will be diverted" to the Chinese army and government. Subsequently, he said, the U.S. can no longer exempt Hong Kong from trade restrictions placed on China.

The end of Hong Kong's special status became a real possibility once the security law came into play, since its implementation will likely render "one country, two systems" nothing more than a slogan, and the U.S. had already announced it no longer considers the city autonomous from Beijing. The move will likely place Hong Kong's role as a leading global financial hub in jeopardy.