Hong Kong is a former British colony that was handed back to China in 1997.
It has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China. Those rights include freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.
But those freedoms – the Basic Law – expire in 2047 and it is not clear what Hong Kong’s status will then be.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he certified on Wednesday to the U.S. Congress that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant special treatment under the U.S. laws in the same way that applied when the territory was still under the British law before July 1997.
“No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground,” Pompeo said in a statement.
“It is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself”.
Protesters occupied the roads in Mongkok into the night after a day of protests and clashes. Police said that as of 9.30 pm, over 360 people had been arrested for offenses including unauthorized assembly and possession of objects such as petrol bombs.
Police fired pepper-spray bullets into lunchtime crowds as people shouted slogans. Officers stopped and searched residents, including students, and rounded up suspected protesters, forcing them to sit in rows on the ground.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said on Wednesday afternoon that his country would take “all necessary countermeasures” against foreign interference.
The commander of the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong said earlier this week his troops – estimated to number around 10,000 – stood ready to “safeguard” Chinese sovereignty and support national security laws.