• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 9:51pm
Edward Snowden
NewsHong Kong

US visa bill passes without Snowden mention, but issue will come up again

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2013, 3:05pm

A bill that would add Hong Kong to a list of territories under consideration to join the US visa-waiver scheme passed through the US Senate without discussion of the Edward Snowden case.

But US political analysts say the bill, supported by President Barack Obama's Democratic Party, has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

That may mean a new bill being debated, which would again raise the question of Hong Kong's inclusion in the waiver scheme, which allows residents of 37 countries access to the US without applying for a visa.

A senior adviser at the DC International Advisory consultancy, Ross Feingold, said issues related to tourism or residents of other jurisdictions were not the focus of the immigration bill.

"As is often the case with … complex legislation, it is possible for little-noticed amendments to be inserted by a member at the last minute prior to a vote," he said. "We like to think that most issues in Hong Kong-US relations are non-controversial.

"The Washington community [government, national security scholars, pundits] are aware of what occurred and it is certain that some members of Congress will not support Hong Kong's entry into the visa waiver program at this time."

But, he added, politicians would have to respond to the concerns of their constituents.

State Department official Patrick Ventrell indicated on Tuesday that Hong Kong's chances of joining the waiver scheme could be hurt by its decision not to arrest Snowden and to allow him to leave on a flight to Moscow.

*Correction: An earlier version identified DC International Advisory as a think tank. It is a consultancy.


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This article is now closed to comments

Like people here really care.. By making it harder for tourist to visit their country they are only cutting their own finger.
hard times !
Though it is still easy for Hong Kong people to travel to other Four Eyes: the UK, Canada,Australia and New Zealand.But to demonstrate our fury at these accomplices of the Big Brother in The Prism program-------cyberspying on other nations' internets and smart phones with every electronic means through hackings---we Hongkongers with sense should avoid travelling to Australia,New Zealand,the UK and Canada as long as possible.Instead there are many friendly nations to visit elsewhere,including Russia, our motherland, Indonesia,Malaysia,South Korea (which female president is visiting Beijing and delivered her speech in phutonghua) and ...
hard times !
why incoherent ? The Five Eyes and now notorious for their parts in the cyberspying program,'The Prism' disclosed by Edward Snowden in Hong Kong.These five countries are all Anglo-Saxon whites and their nasty mysterious acts really harm the interests of other races (including we Chinese living in Hong Kong who are yellow in skin.) The whites racists in this program---monitoring all other races /nations. Right ?
While it would be nice to not have to apply for a visa to visit the U.S., the real issue is whether the applicant lives in a country that is classified, in so many words, as "developing." The HK SAR is considered "developed," while the mainland is considered "developing."
From Shenzhen on inland, the visa application process is time consuming, not a sure thing and expensive. and often humiliating in my view.
Personally, I think that the nasty system in place now for the citizens of developing countries is not in the interests of the U.S., but it remains in place because so few Americans actually know the details.
For the Chinese Governor to have so obviously kowtowed to the wishes of Zhangnanhai at the speed of light was unfortunate and probably a shock to uninformed but senior people in Washington who thought that the 2 systems policy was less porous than it has proven to be. For C.Y at least to have been seen to bargain a bit with his masters in Beijing over the Snowden matter would have prevented a shock sufficient to change perceptions about HK in Washington.
Perceptions have been joggled. Many in Washington are well and truly **** over HK's non-cooperation. The subsequent comments from people in authority, here in HK, are perceived in Washington as being smart-assed -- which perception, I think is fair.
I hope that HK remains classified for visa purposes as distinct from the rest of China, but this mess has happened at a bad time.


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