US senate unanimously passes a bipartisan Hong Kong bill for democracy, angers China

US Senate unanimously passes a bipartisan Hong Kong bill for democracy, angers China

  • 11/20/2019 12:06 am ET Sneha Konda

The United States’ Senate unanimously passed legislation to protect human rights in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

The bill is known as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This will now proceed to the House of Representatives, who have incidentally already approved a version of it last month. After it’s condensed into a single measure, it will be passed to President Donald Trump for approval.

Hong Kongers started protesting in June against plans to allow extradition to China. This, critics were afraid, would block the judiciary from functioning independently. Clashes between the police and activists have turned violent, with 4,491 arrests as of June.

Chuck Schumer:  “A great bipartisan moment.”

The President has so far remained silent on the issue.

The world’s mightiest economies, U.S. and China have been embroiled in a trade war since 2017. In a private phone call earlier in June to China’s President Xi Jinping, Trump reportedly promised that the U.S. would stay quiet on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement as the trade talks progressed, two sources told CNN.

The Senate also passed a second bill unanimously. This will see the export of certain crowd-control weapons, most commonly used to curb protests, banned. This bans U.S. from exporting products like tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray, and stun guns.

The U.S. Senate throwing its support behind the Hong Kong protestors has not gone down well with Beijing. Their retaliation to the bill has already hit the stocks around the globe, according to Bloomberg. China is calling the passage of the Act, “disappointing.”

 

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