President Biden on Thursday granted special protections to Hong Kong residents in the United States, offering them a temporary deferral from deportation in response to an escalating crackdown by Chinese officials on democratic institutions and political dissent in Hong Kong.
In a memo announcing the decision, Mr. Biden said there were “compelling foreign policy reasons” for the order, which would give any resident of Hong Kong targeted for deportation an 18-month reprieve to live temporarily in the United States.
“Over the last year, the P.R.C. has continued its assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press,” Mr. Biden said in the memo, noting that at least 10,000 people, including pro-democracy officials and activists, have been arrested in connection with anti-government protests that began in 2019.
Mr. Biden added that “offering safe haven for Hong Kong residents who have been deprived of their guaranteed freedoms in Hong Kong furthers United States interests in the region.”