Source: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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  • US President Joe Biden offers a temporary “safe haven” in America for Hong Kong residents, citing China’s crackdown on freedoms
  • Hong Kong residents currently in the US will be able to extend their stay for up to 18 months
  • The White House issued a statement saying the US “will not stand idly by as the PRC breaks its promises to Hong Kong and to the international community”
  • Earlier this year, the UK offered residents of the former British colony a path to permanent residency

The United States will offer Hong Kong residents a temporary “safe haven” in the country citing China’s ongoing crackdown on the special administrative region.

President Joe Biden said the United States would not waiver in its support for the people of the Hong Kong.

“Over the last year, the PRC [People’s Republic of China] has continued its assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press.”

The president signed a memorandum directing the “deferral of removal” of certain Hong Kong residents currently in the country for 18 months.

In a statement the White House said the move was a clear sign the US would not “stand idly by” and watch Beijing break its promise to the former British colony which was handed back to China in 1997 under the provision it would follow the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.

“Given the politically motivated arrests and trials, the silencing of the media, and the diminishing the space for elections and democratic opposition, we will continue to take steps in support of people in Hong Kong,” the statement said.

“Since taking office, the Biden Administration has been clear that we, alongside our allies and partners, strongly oppose the PRC’s wielding of the National Security Law to deny basic rights and freedoms, assault Hong Kong’s autonomy, and undermine its remaining democratic processes and institutions.”

The move follows the application of new sanctions by the US last month on Chinese officials in Hong Kong, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating at the time that they had “systematically undermined” Hong Kong’s democratic institutions.

In January, following the introduction of the National Security Law, the UK also established a pathway for Hong Kong residents to come to the country for up to five years and apply for permanent residency.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab welcomed President Biden’s offer to Hong Kong residents, and described the move as “big-hearted”.

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