US gives temporary refuge to people fleeing Hong Kong

US gives temporary refuge to people fleeing Hong Kong

WASHINGTON (AP) – The US government granted temporary refuge on Thursday to people fleeing China’s crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong residents who are in the United States under threat of deportation will be able to stay at least 18 more months because China “denies them their fundamental rights and freedoms,” the White House said in a statement.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated amid a trade war and tension sparked by Chinese measures to suppress dissent in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government has tried to stifle opposition since the 2019 protests against a bill allowing extradition to mainland China. This sparked fears that the former British colony would lose the freedoms promised when it passed to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

“Given the politically motivated arrests and trials, the muzzling of the press, and the shrinking space for elections and the democratic opposition, we will continue to take steps to support the people of Hong Kong,” says the White House.

At first it was not clear how many would be the beneficiaries of the measure. The Department of Homeland Security said they will be able to work while in the United States.

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