Hong Kong residents facing deportation from the United States will be permitted to remain for 18 months under a new measure unveiled by U.S. officials in response to China’s crackdown on the city.
“The PRC has fundamentally altered the bedrock of Hong Kong’s institutions and suppressed freedoms of Hong Kongers,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday. “Today, President Biden directed Deferred Enforced Departure for Hong Kong residents in the United States for 18 months, joining our partners and allies in offering safe haven should residents fear returning to Hong Kong.”
Chinese Communist officials have overhauled the former British colony’s electoral system and restricted speech rights in the territory in violation of the agreement signed when the United Kingdom yielded sovereignty over Hong Kong to Beijing. That crackdown exacerbated U.S. and European anger with the mainland Chinese regime and spurred U.S. officials to declare that Hong Kong is no longer eligible for special economic treatment under American law.
“There are compelling foreign policy reasons to defer enforced departure for Hong Kong residents presently in the United States,” President Joe Biden said in a statement unveiling the order. “The United States is committed to a foreign policy that unites our democratic values with our foreign policy goals, which is centered on the defense of democracy and the promotion of human rights around the world.”