Trump signs legislation and executive order to hold China accountable


President Donald Trump said he signed legislation and an executive order to impose sanctions on China in response to its interference with Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Statement by the President

Today, I have signed into law H.R. 7440, the “Hong Kong Autonomy Act” (the “Act”).  The Act addresses China’s failure to meet certain obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.  I note, however, that the requirements for a waiver or termination of sanctions under section 8 of the Act could limit my discretion under Article II of the Constitution to conduct the Nation’s foreign affairs.  In such circumstances, my Administration will treat these limitations as advisory and non-binding.  In addition, my Administration will treat the requirement in section 8 of the Act to report to the Congress regarding the advisability of terminating the Act and sanctions imposed thereto consistent with the President’s authority under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution to recommend to the Congress only such measures as the President shall judge necessary and expedient.

Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate

Dear Madam Speaker:

Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) and the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), I hereby report I have issued an Executive Order (the “order”) that declares a national emergency with respect to the recent actions taken by the People’s Republic of China to fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.  The order further declares that Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to justify differential treatment in relation to the People’s Republic of China under the U.S. laws and provisions set forth in the order.  The order directs the heads of executive departments and agencies to commence all appropriate actions to carry out the policy of the United States to suspend or eliminate different and preferential treatment for Hong Kong, to the extent permitted by law and in the national security, foreign policy, and economic interest of the United States.

The order blocks the property and interests in property of foreign persons determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, or the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:

  • To be or have been involved, directly or indirectly, in the coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning of individuals under the authority of, or to be or have been responsible for or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Administrative Region;
  • To be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, any of the following:
  • actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Hong Kong;
  • actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, or autonomy of Hong Kong;
  • censorship or other activities with respect to Hong Kong that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Hong Kong, or that limit access to free and independent print, online or broadcast media; or
  • the extrajudicial rendition, arbitrary detention, or torture of any person in Hong Kong or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or serious human rights abuse in Hong Kong;
  • To be or have been a leader or official of:
  • an entity, including any government entity, that has engaged in, or whose members have engaged in, any of the activities described above; or
  • an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
  • To have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this section;
  • To be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this section; or
  • To be a member of the board of directors or a senior executive officer of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this section.

The order also delegates to the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the authority to take such actions, including adopting rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to implement the order.

Under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), the order also suspends the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria above for the blocking of property and interests in property, and their immediate family members, as well as aliens determined by the Secretary of State to be employed by, or acting as an agent of, such aliens determined to meet the criteria.

I am enclosing a copy of the order I have issued.




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