ZeroHedge reports that China is mad that President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and Democracy. In a statement, China’s foreign ministry said that the American government’s decision was “a naked hegemonic act” without offering any details on possible retaliation.
In the Chinese government’s view, America is allegedly interfering with Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs and violating international law by signing this bill into law.
The Chinese government claims that the U.S. ignored the facts and explicitly supported violent criminals who rioted on the streets and disrupted the rule of law.
Trump made a statement saying that he “signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”
The signing of this bill comes at a time when Hong Kong is mired in unrest. Anti-government protests began with an extradition bill—which has now been discarded— that was floated by Hong Kong leadership. Now these protests have morphed into larger demands for democratic reform and police accountability.
“The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act reaffirms and amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, specifies United States policy towards Hong Kong and directs assessment of the political developments in Hong Kong,” the White House declared in a statement. “Certain provisions of the act would interfere with the exercise of the president’s constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States.”
The bill, S.1838, was passed nearly unanimously in both chambers of Congress. S.1838 requires yearly reviews of Hong Kong’s special trade status under American law and will enable Washington to revoke this status in case the city does not keep a sufficient degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework. Additionally, this bill sanctions any officials who commit human rights abuses or undermine the city’s autonomy.
The House passed the bill on a 417-1 vote on November 20, 2019 after the Senate passed the bill without opposition. The veto-proof majorities gave Trump little wiggle room, as he was forced to sign the bill, lest he face opposition from his party.
Similarly, Trump signed the PROTECT Hong Kong act which prohibits the sales of American-made munitions like tear gas and rubber bullets to the city’s leaders.
Trump has maintained some degree of the silence on the issue, knowing that dealing with China will be a calculated struggle.
China is no benevolent actor and must be dealt with by using tough diplomacy.
Trump recognizes this and is using the trade war in a manner that can correct China’s predatory behavior.