In mid-November 2020, China’s National People’s Congress passed a resolution allowing Hong Kong authorities to expel legislators deemed a threat to national security or failing to pledge allegiance to Hong Kong without having to go through the judicial system. Shortly thereafter, the Hong Kong government disqualified four pro-democracy legislators. Reaction within and outside of Hong Kong was swift: fellow pan-democrat Legislative Council (LegCo) members resigned in protest; the U.S. national security advisor said that the Chinese Communist Party had “flagrantly violated its international commitments” while the British foreign minister saw the expulsions as an assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms. By contrast, Chief Executive Carrie Lam proclaimed the dismissals both necessary and legal. In early December, protesters were sentenced to prison for activities during the 2019 demonstrations. What do the most recent developments tell us about “One Country, Two Systems”? About the strength of Hong Kong’s judiciary? What changes in U.S. policy may emerge from the new Biden administration when it takes over next month?
On December 17, 2020, the National Committee held a virtual program with Ambassador Kurt Tong and Ms. Christine Loh to discuss the latest developments in Hong Kong and implications for U.S.-Hong Kong and U.S.-China relations.