Hong Kong has a special trading status with the United States. As a legacy of its British past and this special status, certain American controls on technology and other exports that apply to the rest of China do not apply to Hong Kong. This is a recognition by the United States of the “one country, two systems”—which was promised by the Chinese in the original deal about Hong Kong’s handover.
Bills are being introduced in the House and Senate to monitor and strengthen this special status and to threaten it should the Chinese government remove the basis for it. If the administration backed these bills—along with the bipartisan support they now have in Congress—America would speak in one voice in the same tones as won the Cold War and allowed coalitions to thwart and topple tyrannies after it ended.
And America would not need to speak alone. Trump has been given a gift in the rise of Boris Johnson as prime minister of Great Britain. That nation is the chief signatory to the deal that was to keep Hong Kong free for 50 years and Johnson has forcefully asserted Britain’s right to act independently on the world stage. The prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, is also a China critic and is notably concerned about Australia’s largest trading partner’s threat to security.