Pompeo playing politics with Hong Kong statement, says Baker Institute expert

EXPERT ALERT

Jeff Falk
713-348-6775
jfalk@rice.edu

Pompeo playing politics with Hong Kong statement, says Baker Institute expert

HOUSTON – (May 28, 2020) – Following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s declaration that “no reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China,” an expert from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy is available to discuss the situation with the news media.

Credit: 123RF.com/Rice University

“Secretary Pompeo’s statement on Hong Kong, in conjunction with similar views from Europe, Asia and the Pacific, raises the stakes for Beijing’s proposed crackdown on political dissent in China,” said Steven Lewis, the C.V. Starr Transnational China Fellow at the Baker Institute. “On the one hand, (President and) Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping is facing rising public discontent in many localities from his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting harm to the Chinese economy, and he is also facing criticism for his failed attempts to cow Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, and failed attempt to intimidate Taiwan into electing a more pro-China president earlier this year.

“Meanwhile, the Trump administration, facing widespread unhappiness with its reaction to the pandemic and the harm to the economy, is lashing out at China to try to get Americans to rally around the administration’s flag in an election year,” Lewis said. “Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, and their supporters in U.S. Congress, should be cautious about viewing Secretary Pompeo’s statement as a firm commitment to opposing Beijing in its treatment of Hong Kong, as President Trump has often shown a willingness to use such statements as a negotiating tactic in broader trade discussions with the Xi regime.”

To schedule an interview with Lewis or for more information, contact Jeff Falk, director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

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Lewis bio: www.bakerinstitute.org/experts/steven-w-lewis

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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks as the No. 2 university-affiliated think tank in the world and the No. 1 energy think tank in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blog.bakerinstitute.org.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.