Written by: Ban Shan
2020-02-13 07:00Last updated: 2020-02-13 07:00
With the outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan and multiple confirmed cases in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government may have to deal with another front while the Hong Kong government is struggling to deal with the epidemic. The United States has recently adopted two measures against Hong Kong in response to the development of the epidemic situation, and it quickly touched the nerves of the establishment camp, believing that it was "hugging" the Hong Kong government that is fighting the epidemic, and it is a continuation of the storm war in the past eight months.
Exclude Hong Kong from the list of developing countries
On the 11th, the United States launched two initiatives involving Hong Kong in one day, which aroused the attention of the local political circle. The first is a notice from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) removing 25 countries and territories from the list of "developing countries," including China and Hong Kong.
According to World Trade Organization (WTO) regulations, developing countries can enjoy special and differential treatment, such as lower tariffs.
Allow consular staff to evacuate Hong Kong
The second measure is that the US government announced that it authorized the non-essential personnel and family members of the Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau to choose whether to leave Hong Kong in response to the new coronavirus pneumonia epidemic.
Although many countries and organizations have recently adopted quarantine measures against Hong Kong, including South Korea's designation of Hong Kong as an epidemic area, and European industrial and commercial exhibitions urging Hong Kong companies to cancel their participation, these measures are all "civilian-level" actions. The United States asked the non-essential personnel of the consulate to withdraw from Hong Kong. This is an "government level" operation. It is a higher level than the "civilian level" and is the first country in the world to raise it. The news triggered discussions in the formation camp. .
The consulate is a country's representative and symbol in other countries. Every move has political implications. For this reason, every move that may be accompanied by a political message by the consulate is thought out and even determined by senior officials in Washington. Hong Kong constitutionalists believe that the United States announced at this time that authorizing non-essential personnel and family members of the Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao to leave Hong Kong in response to the epidemic situation had the meaning of "withdrawing overseas Chinese," which contained a message of no confidence in the Hong Kong government's control of the epidemic.
However, constitutionalists believe that the "micro-evacuation" of the United States is unnecessary. At first, there were no signs of community outbreaks in Hong Kong. The number of confirmed patients was 49 as of 8pm on the 11th, which was not considered a high risk level. Singapore and Hong Kong have the same number of diagnoses (47 cases as of the 11th), and the United States has not made similar measures. Although Hong Kong has a closer relationship with the mainland, Hong Kong has implemented measures that are close to "half clearance" in practical sense. (All those who enter from the mainland port must be isolated on the 14th, and the number of mainland residents who have entered the mainland has been reduced to three figures of 738 on February 11.) The safety factor has been improved. Under this circumstance, the United States is still "micro-evacuating overseas Chinese", which is "sticking cold ass" to the Hong Kong Government.
What the establishmentists are most worried about is that the actions of the United States will cause ripple effects. When the epidemic in Hong Kong develops further, consulates in other countries will follow suit and the Hong Kong government will become more isolated.
As for the removal of Hong Kong from the list of "developing countries" by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), it is no longer possible for Hong Kong to enjoy the advantages of low taxes. The explanation of USTR is that since the guidelines were issued in 1998, they are now outdated after 22 years. Make adjustments. However, just as there are two different viewpoints for half a glass of water, Hong Kong has been on the list of "developing countries" of the USTR for 22 years. Do we need to rush to announce the delisting when Hong Kong is caught in a hard fight against epidemics?
Some in the formed camp even laughed that Hong Kong Zhongzhi could buy 100,000 masks in the United States to return to Hong Kong, and there might be "external forces" behind them. Of course, this statement is only speculation and cannot be verified.
Founders worry about other countries following
Regardless, the United States' "strict" approach to the Hong Kong epidemic is definitely not a good thing for the Hong Kong government. If the Hong Kong government fails to control the epidemic, it can be expected that the US government may continue to "take a quick step" and take other new measures to "continue". Other countries may follow suit, triggering chain effects.
Before this tough battle of Wuhan pneumonia, the United States and the Hong Kong Government had repeatedly revised their rules and regulations. Before the outbreak of the epidemic, the Hong Kong government experienced political storms in the past eight months, during which the United States has taken a number of actions, including a hearing in Congress, to testify against anti-reformers such as Huang Zhifeng of Hong Kong, and passed the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and Democracy. , Continue to put pressure on the Hong Kong government. It is no wonder that some systemists believe that the "hard measures" of the United States on the Hong Kong Government in recent days are an extension of the storm phenomenon.
For the Hong Kong Government, this is another front under the epidemic.
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