US vice president calls Beijing's Hong Kong security law a 'betrayal'

Mike Pence denounces China for curtailing Hong Kong freedoms and breaking international agreement

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday (July 2) slammed the Chinese government for asserting its unchecked power in Hong Kong, calling implementation of the new national security law the "betrayal" of a global agreement.

In an interview with CNBC, Pence said passage of the legislation was "unacceptable" to the international community and freedom advocates around the world. He emphasized the U.S. government would change its approach to the former British colony now that its autonomy had been taken away by the Chinese government.

Beijing's introduction of the security law would also signify its abandonment of the "one country, two systems" framework it had previously promised Hong Kong, according to Liberty Times. Under the agreement, Hong Kong was promised it would enjoy the rights and freedoms of a semi-autonomous region until 2047.

Despite Chinese claims the legislation would only target a handful of "troublemakers," global analysts regard it as the government's attempt to eradicate any opposition and gain complete control of the special administrative region. They also worry that individuals in the international financial hub will lose their basic human rights and freedom of expression, reported Radio Taiwan International.

Since the law first came into effect on Wednesday (July 1) nearly 400 Hong Kong citizens have been arrested on various charges, including unlawful assembly, possession of weapons, and "furious driving." The slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," made famous by the 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition protests, has also been banned for supporting Hong Kong independence, reported CNA.