China Asks US To "Change Course" Over Hong Kong Bill, Summons Envoy

Friday, 29 Nov, 2019

It warned that the United States will shoulder the consequences of China's countermeasures if it continues to "act arbitrarily" in regards to Hong Kong.

But Trump, appearing on Fox News late Tuesday, called Chinese President Xi Jinping "a friend of mine".

President Trump announced to the press that the first phase of the trade agreement with the leaders of the Chinese regime was about to close on November 26.

While many see the laws as symbolic, they have the potential to upend relations between the United States and Hong Kong.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International have documented arbitrary arrests, brutal beatings and torture committed by Hong Kong police since mass protests began in mid-2019 over proposed legislative changes to allow extraditions to mainland China.

Among other things, Hong Kong's special trading status means it is not affected by USA sanctions or tariffs placed on the mainland.

The bill, if enacted, will also enable the freeze the assets of, and refuse visas to, officials deemed responsible for human rights violations in the city.

Members of a safety team established by police and local authorities arrive on campus to assess and clear unsafe items at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in Hong Kong.

Trump was not specifically asked about congressional legislation to back protesters in Hong Kong that is sitting on his desk after being passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives last week.

"We remind the United States that Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs and no foreign government or force shall interfere", read the statement.

The Human Rights and Democracy Act mandates an annual review, to check if Hong Kong has enough autonomy to justify its special status with the US.

The first is the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

"Following last weekend's historic elections in Hong Kong that included record turnout, this new law could not be more timely in showing strong USA support for Hong Kongers' long-cherished freedoms", said Rubio. Hong Kong also plays a role as a fundraising conduit for Chinese firms.

The U.S. attempts to disrupt Hong Kong and contain China's development are futile and miscalculated, it said.

By the logic of some hawkish USA lawmakers, however, their support and promotion of "democracy" overseas is an internal U.S. matter and China's protests over it amount to unwelcome foreign interference. Instead, press secretary Adam Austen said: "Canada is very concerned by the situation in Hong Kong and, in particular, the recent rise in violence ..."

Both the USA and China are now locked in a trade war and have deep differences over Beijing's claims to the South China Sea and Taiwan, human rights issues and accusations of Chinese industrial espionage.

According to the State Department, 85,000 US citizens lived in Hong Kong in 2018 and more than 1,300 USA companies operate there, including almost every major US financial firm.