Trump signs HK bills, China warns retaliation

Daniel Fowler
November 29, 2019

Beijing on Thursday reiterated its threat to take action, without elaborating.

Many protesters feel it's premature to celebrate because Carrie Lam has not offered any new concessions to their demands.

The rally comes after the British consulate's former employee and Hong Kong resident Simon Cheng claimed Shenzhen police beat him and deprived him of sleep during his 15-day administrative detention in August.

As part of it, there will be an annual review.

Le said China will take "countermeasures" in response to the "wrong move" taken by the USA and America must bear all the consequences that may ensue, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The signing of the legislation was hailed by leaders on both sides of the aisle.

Taiwan's Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said when governments and people around the world speak out in support of the Hong Kong people, it shows that democracy has become a way of life pursued by all people.

Prominent activist Joshua Wong, who was among those who lobbied for the US laws, said it was remarkable that human rights had triumphed over the U.S. Pelosi said she looked forward to its "prompt enforcement"-a sentiment echoed by Rubio".

Dubbed the 'Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, ' the bill blazed through both houses of Congress earlier this month with virtually unanimous consent from lawmakers.

"[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 bills were applauded by protesters who see them as a warning to Beijing and Hong Kong. Describing Trump as displaying a "noticeable weakness in the knees", it took aim at his characterisation of Xi as a "friend".

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The calls raise the spectre of a return to the kind of weekly political chaos that has battered Hong Kong for almost six months and plunged the city into recession.

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous territory which operates under the "one country, two systems" principle - a structure that grants its citizens some degree of financial and legal independence from the mainland. One masked protester told media the night before police came in that about 20 people were still hiding to avoid arrest.

Other demonstrations planned over the weekend include a rally by secondary school students, a march to protest against tear gas sprayed near children and a "march of gratitude" where protesters are planning to march to the USA consulate.

The protests started in June over a Chinese extradition bill that pro-democracy protestors believed whittled away the freedoms promised to them when China regained control of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom in 1997.

"If the US takes sanctions against Hong Kong based on those future reviews, China will take countermeasures", he said.

A loss of the status could also jeopardise the over US$30 billion (S$41 billion) in trade between Hong Kong and the US.

In a reflection of Beijing's assertion that the protests are part of a foreign conspiracy, the ministry said the legislation should unite Chinese, including those in Hong Kong, in opposition to "sinister" US intentions.

The strong statement comes after the Chinese foreign ministry summoned the U.S. envoy, Terry Branstad to protest against the bill.

"Regarding specific countermeasures, I suggest you follow up on this issue", he said.

The concerns of the Chinese leadership go beyond trade, over which it had expressed optimism that a deal could be made.

China insists that the unrest in Hong Kong - a territory recovered from the United Kingdom in 1997 after a century of colonial rule - is its internal affair.

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