Hong Kong is no longer an autonomous region. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certified this before Congress today, saying that the island metropolis no longer has a substantial degree of autonomy from Mainland China, according to Fox News.
This determination signifies that the special relationship Hong Kong has had with the US since the British hand off of the territory to Beijing in 1997 is over.
In a statement, Pompeo said "The State Department is required by the Hong Kong Policy Act to assess the autonomy of the territory from China. After careful study of developments over the reporting period, I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997. No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground."
Hong Kong is a financial and banking hub that has enjoyed a special trading status with the US due to its autonomous status, which meant that it gave the US a financial foothold in Asia. The city has long been subject to a "one country, two systems" policy, that meant while the territory was a Chinese asset, it had the right to self determination in many ways.
After pro-democracy protests erupted in the city last year, which was a result of Xi's administration attempting to limit Hong Kong's autonomy, Beijing has struck back with further curtailments to freedom.
Beijing has implemented national security legislation in the lead up to Hong Kong September elections, which Beijing fears will lead to calls for further democratic reforms.
Despite this, Hong Kongers have kept up their efforts to obtain their liberty. They were aggressive in their efforts to take up their cause after the restrictions in place due to coronavirus eased in April. Recently, the Legislative Council has seen physical altercations between pro-democracy legislators and those would have them silenced.
In support of Hong Kongers determination to fight for democracy, the US last year passed a law called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. What this means is that each year, the US must verify that Hong Kong's independence has been maintained in order that the special trade relationship be upheld. That assessment this year resulted in the certification from Pompeo today.