Blinken: Hong Kong does not warrant special status

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Congress that Hong Kong should not be given preferential treatment by his country because China has severely undermined the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong.

A number of pro-democracy legislators and activists in Hong Kong have been arrested and charged since a national security law for Hong Kong went into effect last year.

In addition, China decided this week to introduce a vetting system for election candidates in Hong Kong to ensure they are loyal to Beijing.

Blinken released a statement on Wednesday, saying "Over the past year, China has continued to dismantle Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy."

He also said he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong does not warrant differential treatment under US law in the same manner as US laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1, 1997.

Blinken added, "I am committed to continuing to work with Congress and our allies and partners around the world to stand with the people in Hong Kong against China's egregious policies and actions."

Blinken's predecessor Mike Pompeo made a similar report to Congress last May, and the US suspended or removed three privileges for Hong Kong, including an extradition treaty and tax exemptions.

The latest report shows the administration of President Joe Biden intends to uphold former President Donald Trump's hardline stance against China.