U.S. Senate passes rights bill backing Hong Kong protesters, drawing condemnation from Beijing

China expresses strong condemnation against U.S. Senate's passing of Hong Kong-related legislation

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The US Senate unanimously passed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” on Tuesday to protect the human rights of protesters in Hong Kong who suffered violent law enforcement repression.

The law will be sent to the American president for his consideration.
The vote comes immediately after the violent siege at the Hong Kong Polytechnic.

China on Wednesday expressed strong condemnation against the U.S. Senate’s passing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in a press statement: “This act neglects facts and truth, applies double standards and blatantly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s other internal affairs. It is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China condemns and firmly opposes it. […]

The central government will continue to firmly support the SAR government in lawfully administering Hong Kong, support the police in enforcing law, and support the judicial organs in punishing violent criminals, protecting the life and property of citizens and safeguarding prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. […]

The act passed by the U.S. Senate remains blind on facts and Hong Kong people’s wellbeing. Out of hidden political agenda, this act paints criminal moves as pursuit of human rights and democracy when the truth is violent criminals rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, bullied and attacked innocent civilians, forcibly occupied university campuses, mobbed young students, and assaulted police officers in a premeditated way. The aim is to bolster anti-China, extremist and violent radicals who attempt to disrupt Hong Kong, damage Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, so that they can contain China by making a fuss out of the Hong Kong issue, which is exactly the malicious intention of certain people. Such a move will not only undermine China’s interests but also the U.S. interests in Hong Kong, too. In fact, all those attempts to interfere in or impede China’s development will be in vain.”

The two chambers will have to work out their differences before any legislation can be sent to President Donald Trump.

“The people of Hong Kong see what’s coming – they see the steady effort to erode the autonomy and their freedoms.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said, accusing Beijing of being behind the violent repression in the former British colony.

The Senate also passed a second bill unanimously banning the export of ammunition, such as tear gas, rubber bullets and stinging sprays to the Hong Kong police force.

According to this bill, the American secretary of state will have to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong enjoys a certain degree of autonomy to be taken into consideration for commercial exchange.

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, announced Monday that the United States is concerned about the riots and violence in Hong Kong, and called on the city government and China to respect the freedom of Hong Kong citizens.

The bill will also impose a series of restrictions for all officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.

On October the United States announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials suspected of being involved in the detention of millions of Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups in the western region of Xinjiang.

There has not yet been an official response from the White House.

A contact officer from the Reuters agency recently said that no decision has been made yet, but the unanimous vote by the Senate could certainly hinder a president’s veto.

According to Reuters, the bill will cause not a few debates between Trump and his advisers since, according to some, this bill could hinder negotiations on the trade war.

On Wednesday, the Chinese government officially condemned the vote in the Senate, announcing new measures to strengthen the safeguarding of the sovereignty and security of the nation.

 

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