State Department certifies Hong Kong does not warrant unique treatment under U.S. law: Blinken

"2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" release at the State Department in Washington
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Wednesday he has certified to congress that Hong Kong does not warrant differential treatment under a law that called for the United States to maintain a relationship with the island similar to that enjoyed before it was returned to Chinese control in 1997.

The United States first refused to make the annual certification required by law in 2020, as China cracked down on Hong Kong's autonomy.

Saying that China has "severely undermined the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong," Blinken cited "arbitrary arrests and politically-motivated prosecutions of opposition politicians, activists, and peaceful" as well as postponement of elections, "pressure on judicial independence and academic and press freedoms," and a "de facto ban on public demonstrations" for denying the certification.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Editing by Franklin Paul)