In response, China summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad to demand that US stop interfering with their internal affairs.
President Donald Trump has signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which is aimed at ensuring that Hong Kong has sufficient autonomy from China by tying the city’s liberty to trading terms with the United States.
Hong Kong residents, which recently voted in a suite of pro-Democracy candidates to key positions in district councils, waved American fans in thanksgiving for the important sign of support from this county.
Protesters in Hong Kong will hold a celebratory, pro-US rally Thursday after President Donald Trump gave them what one prominent activist termed a “timely Thanksgiving present.”
Trump signed an act in support of the protest movement despite a potential backlash from Beijing that could derail delicate US-China trade talks, after it was passed almost unanimously by both houses of Congress.
Anti-government protesters in the semi-autonomous Chinese city have long campaigned in favor of the bill — which would permit Washington to impose sanctions or even suspend Hong Kong’s special trading status over rights violations. Trump’s decision to sign the act gives the movement a second major symbolic victory in a matter of days.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful that we have foreigners who want to wave the American flag instead of burn it.
These photos from the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are incredible.
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) November 28, 2019
Hong Kong Thanksgiving and “Thank you” USA rally was held at Edinburgh Place this evening; although it was planned early last weekend, the event coincided with President Trump signing the #HKHumanRightsandDemocracyAct
Estimated crowd was 10,000 pic.twitter.com/LuV9Jbidnq
— Alexander Haynes (@ACLHaynes) November 28, 2019
Some signs even included a snarky slam to recent media hysterics.
Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!
Here’s the story from Hong Kong, have a smile! (From Daily Caller) pic.twitter.com/iTes2gBCyE
— Kitty Lenoir (@KittyLenoir) November 28, 2019
Meanwhile, the Chinese Panda is howling over the move…yet is still moving forward with trade talks.
China vented on Thursday after President Trump signed new human rights legislation covering the protest-wracked city of Hong Kong. It denounced the new law as illegal interference in its own affairs. It summoned the American ambassador [Terry Branstad] for the second time in a week. It vowed retaliation.
The threats sounded severe. They also sounded empty.
Behind the harsh rhetoric, China has few options for striking back at the United States in a meaningful way. And it has bigger priorities — namely, ending the increasingly punishing trade war between the two countries. Though both sides are talking about their willingness to reach a deal, they have yet to sign even an interim pact that would head off potentially damaging new tariffs less than three weeks from now.
On Thursday, Beijing’s main agency on trade remained quiet on the legislation even as other officials railed against it, suggesting that the government remained open to a trade deal and would let the volatile issue of Hong Kong simmer, at least for now.
Hopefully, the Act and the support of America’s representatives will be such that Hong Kong’s citizens will have reason to give thanks next Thanksgiving as well.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.
Another bill prohibits export to Hong Kong police of certain nonlethal munitions, including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, water cannons, stun guns and tasers.
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