Trump Signs Legislation Showing American Support for Hong Kong Protesters
Human Rights and Democracy Act signed by president
President Donald Trump has signed new legislation into law that shows American support for protesters in Hong Kong, according to reports.
But the move could worsen relations with China amid the ongoing trade war with the country.
Over recent months, there have been increasing public clashes in Hong Kong which rose over an extradition bill.
Although the region’s government retracted the bill, pro-democracy demonstrations continued.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was introduced by Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, which is one of two bills the president signed Wednesday.
Trump said in a statement.:
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi [Jinping], China, and the people of Hong Kong."
"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," the president added.
The second bill bans exporting items such as rubber bullets and tear gas to Hong Kong police.
The items are used by police and authorities to control crowds, some resulting in disastrous consequences.
Axios reported that Rubio’s previous bill passed overwhelmingly in both the House and the Senate.
Trump signing such bills is seen as a warning to China during trade talks.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has formally withdrawn the extradition bill that sparked months of protests.— Bloomberg TicToc (@TicToc) September 4, 2019
It comes after protesters and police clashed again in the city #香港 #HongKongProtests pic.twitter.com/n3yZDkiJfb
China promised it would retaliate if the legislation became law, the outlet reported.
“I applaud President Trump for signing this critical legislation into law,” Rubio said in a statement Wednesday.
“The U.S. now has new and meaningful tools to deter further influence and interference from Beijing into Hong Kong’s internal affairs.”
“Following last weekend’s historic elections in Hong Kong that included record turnout, this new law could not be more timely in showing strong U.S. support for Hong Kongers’ long-cherished freedoms,” he added.
In September, Protesters in Hong Kong halted demonstrations to remember the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
The Chinese state-run media ironically accused the activists of planning 9/11-style terrorist attacks themselves, complete with photos of the planes striking the Twin Towers in 2001.
According to a statement from the protest organizers, it read:
“In solidarity against terrorism, all forms of protest in Hong Kong will be suspended on Sept. 11, apart from potential singing and chanting."