U.S. deems Hong Kong no longer autonomous to China

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said he will no longer consider Hong Kong as autonomous to China, a move that will strip the SAR of its special trade status under US law. 

For years, Hong Kong has acted as a middleman for transactions between China and the rest of the world.

Macau’s U.S. casino operators, including MGM China and Sands China, along with Macau-based casino operators including Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Resorts, and SJM Holdings are listed under the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. 

The SAR is also home to a number of service providers and consultants to Asia’s gaming industry.

“No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground,” Pompeo said.

“While the US once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself,” he added. 

Riots broke out in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong over a controversial bill aimed at criminalizing abuse of the Chinese national anthem. Those found guilty could face up to three years prison and a fine of HK$50,000 ($9,800).

It was seen as yet another step in Beijing’s plan to tighten its grip on the SAR.