President Joe Biden ordered a two-year extension of a programme allowing Hong Kong residents in the United States – many of whom fled Chinese rule – to stay beyond the expiry of their visas.
The extension, just days before the programme was due to run out, was likely to add to tensions between Beijing and Washington, already high over Taiwan, trade disputes, and Chinese backing for Russia.
Biden said the United States is “offering safe haven for Hong Kong residents who have been deprived of their guaranteed freedoms in Hong Kong”.
This “furthers United States interests in the region”, he said.
“The United States supports the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the residents of Hong Kong. The People’s Republic of China has continued to erode those rights and freedoms,” Biden said. — AFP