The New York Times reported Friday that Hong Kong had postponed its upcoming election due to concerns over COVID-19. Now, the White House is speaking out about it.
According to The Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reacted to the news with a statement asserting that there is “no valid reason” for the delay and warning that it could set a precedent for other nations around the world.
“It is likely…that Hong Kong will never again be able to vote — for anything or anyone,” Pompeo said Saturday, according to The Hill.
He went on: “This regrettable action confirms that Beijing has no intention of upholding the commitments it made to the Hong Kong people and the United Kingdom under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty, and the Basic Law.”
“Another Communist-run city”
The people of Hong Kong were ready to make their voices heard this September by voting out legislators who are working for Beijing instead of their own community. Staring down the barrel of that shotgun, pro-China lawmakers made a rash decision.
According to The New York Times, the election slated for next month has now been delayed until Sept. 5, 2021. While Hong Kong law allows an election to “be delayed for up to 14 days if there is a ‘danger to public health or safety,'” according to the Times, this goes far beyond that — and Pompeo, for his part, isn’t pleased.
Speaking earlier last week, Pompeo asserted that the elections in Hong Kong “must proceed on time,” The New York Times reported.
“The people of Hong Kong deserve to have their voice represented by the elected officials that they choose in those elections,” the secretary of State added, according to the Times. “If they destroy that, if they take that down, it will be another marker that will simply prove that the Chinese Communist Party has now made Hong Kong just another Communist-run city.”
A legal battle looming
The city of Hong Kong’s bar association also spoke out against the move, saying they have “serious doubts about the legal and evidential basis of the government’s decision,” as DW.com reported.
The bar’s lawyers went on to say that the city “has failed to satisfactorily explain why the LegCo election was to be postponed for one year, instead of a shorter period of several weeks or months.”
There will likely be a substantial legal battle over this action by the Hong Kong government. Pompeo has, of course, already made the White House’s view on the matter clear, but stronger action will likely be required to ensure the autonomy of Hong Kong.
A year-long delay proves that this isn’t about coronavirus; it is about staying in power. It’s time for President Donald Trump and his administration to prove they’ll do whatever it takes to fight for freedom — even beyond our borders.