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ROC Central News Agency

Hong Kong acts on China's behalf to squeeze Taiwan in WTO: U.S. report

ROC Central News Agency

04/01/2022 12:44 PM

Washington, March 31 (CNA) The Hong Kong government has been working with China to block Taiwan's meaningful participation in the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. Department of State said in a report published Thursday.

Even as the Chinese government was taking new actions to erode democracy in Hong Kong, representatives of the latter were acting on behalf of China to advance its objectives in the international arena, the report said.

The annual Hong Kong Policy Act report, published by the U.S. State Department and mandated by the U.S. Congress, assessed the state of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong over the period March 2021 to March 2022.

During that period, the central government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) moved to disable the role of Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition in the city's governance and effectively criminalize peaceful political expression critical of the central and local governments, the report said.

The PRC National People's Congress Standing Committee approved sweeping changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, thus blocking the participation of political groups that are not favored by Beijing and greatly diminishing Hong Kong voters' ability to elect representatives of their choice, the report said.

In the international area, meanwhile, Hong Kong continued to vote separately from mainland China in a number of organizations and multilateral entities, but the extent of the PRC's influence was unclear, according to the report.

In some organizations, there were reports that Hong Kong representatives were acting on behalf of China to advance the PRC's political objectives, the State Department said.

It cited reports that in the WTO, in which Taiwan has membership, Hong Kong has been working, on China's behalf, to prevent meaningful participation by Taiwan and block the island from any leadership positions.

"This indicated that Hong Kong's ability to participate autonomously in these organizations may be eroding," the report said.

On the economic front, although Hong Kong's economic and financial systems remain distinct in many respects from mainland China's, the differences have narrowed, and business and rule of law risks that were formerly limited to mainland China are now increasingly a concern in Hong Kong, according to the report.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Shih Hsiu-chuan)


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