- China's Foreign Ministry stated that the bill not only "seriously interfered with both Hong Kong's and China's internal affairs but equally violated international law."
- The law threatens to suspend the special economic status granted by Washington to the former British colony.
- Congress also passed legislation banning the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets, and other equipment used by Hong Kong security forces.
China reacted angrily on Thursday to US President Donald Trump’s signing of a law that supports the protests in Hong Kong. Beijing called it an “absolute abomination,” and threatened to retaliate against the US government. The legislation allows the White House to impose economic sanctions against both the Chinese and the autonomous region’s officials who are responsible for human rights violations.
China’s Foreign Ministry, in a furious reaction, stated that the bill not only “seriously interfered with both Hong Kong’s and China’s internal affairs but equally violated international law as well as the basic norms of international relations.” The ministry sent a stern warning to the United States for acting arbitrarily and added that any subsequent consequences would “be borne by the United States.” This month, there was an escalation of violence in Hong Kong with two confirmed deaths and several knife attacks, as well as the use of live ammunition by the police against the protesters.
The resolution, passed last week by Congress, backed by both the Democrats and the Republicans, and signed on Wednesday by Trump, “conceals sinister intentions,” according to Beijing. The statement issued by the Chinese authorities does not mention what retaliatory measures would be taken against the United States, though.
The law threatens to suspend the special economic status granted by Washington to the former British colony, which allows the territory to be exempt from economic sanctions imposed on mainland China if the rights of protesters are not respected. Trump was at first reluctant to sign the bill, but the huge support that it received from Congress, by both Democrats and Republicans, left the president with no room to maneuver.
In explaining himself, Trump said he signed the law “out of respect for President Xi [Jinping], China, and the people of Hong Kong.” Trump added that “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.” Congress also passed legislation banning the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets, and other equipment used by Hong Kong security forces to crackdown on protests.
The protests began in June this year, in opposition to a proposed bill in the Hong Kong legislature which would have allowed those suspected of crimes in Beijing to be extradited to mainland China. Although the LegCo withdrew the proposal in October, demonstrations continued.
The anti-Chinese protesters continue to demonstrate urging, among other things, the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is regarded by many of the region’s residents as a Beijing’puppet. They are also calling for greater autonomy in choosing regional leaders and amnesty for activists convicted of violence during protests in recent months.