Protesters celebrate passage of controversial Hong Kong bill

Daniel Fowler
November 29, 2019

Pro-democracy activists are calling the move a "timely Thanksgiving present".

In signing the Bills, Mr Trump signalled to Mr Xi that action wouldn't be imminent. "But sometimes interests coincide", he said. "We need more countries to act with us", he added.

Wednesday, President Trump did what his predecessors would not do-defend America from a China that is going after us.

"[The bills] 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", Mr Trump said.

The bill also lays out a process for the President to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on those who are found to be knowingly responsible for arbitrary detention, torture and forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong, or other violations of internationally recognized human rights in the Asian financial hub. The other bans the export of certain nonlethal munitions to Hong Kong police.

Analysts say the new laws are mostly symbolic and unlikely to result in actual sanctions or a change in Hong Kong's status anytime soon.

Sunny Cheung, a member of the Hong Kong Higher Institutions International Affairs Delegation (HKIAD) which organised the event, said they prepared a 100-page report for the USA to consider sanctions.

Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government said the legislation sent the wrong signal to demonstrators and "clearly interfered" with the city's internal affairs.

"I would appeal to leaders and politicians in Canada to stand with the protesters in Hong Kong, who are fighting for a noble cause of free election", Wong said.

Some urged Washington to penalize Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) over the government's handling of the crisis. Some carried posters featuring U.S. President Donald Trump. "The election proved that we are the majority, and now this shows that we are supported around the world as well".

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The act will impose penalties upon Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials who infringe upon "basic freedoms" in the city, including freezing their US-based assets, denying the use of the United States banking system, and being denied entry into the US.

"I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi [Jinping], China, and the people of Hong Kong".

China grossly underestimated public sentiment in the US and the global community as a whole.

China is considering barring the drafters of the legislation, whose U.S. Senate sponsor is Florida Republican Marco Rubio, from entering mainland China as well as Hong Kong and Macau, Xu Xijin, the editor of China's Global Times tabloid, said on Twitter.

"Trump lacks the political power to veto the bill", one said.

Indeed, Beijing was quick to denounce the full passage of the bill, branding the legislation "full of prejudice and arrogance" and suggesting the "U.S. plot"-as it has framed the unrest-is "doomed to fail".

After university leaders said nearly all protesters had left, police teams moved in on Thursday to gather a huge haul of Molotov cocktails and other weapons left behind after the occupation.

"The world is seeing a singular view of Hong Kong events through the lens of those who wish to destroy its parent where the only possible outcome is to completely sacrifice the child", Leung said. "They try to handle it by separate tracks", he said. Speaking on Fox News, Trump called the protests a "complicating factor" in trade negotiations with Beijing. "But it won't necessarily make or break a deal".

Last week, China's new ambassador to Canada warned Ottawa not to follow the lead of the US and support protesters. "Following last weekend's historic elections in Hong Kong that included record turnout, this new law could not be more timely in showing strong US support for Hong Kongers' long-cherished freedoms".

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