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.
This is big:
The Senate has just sent a resounding message to the Chinese Communist Party that the United States stands with the democratic protestors in Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/HbhSL31ggV
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 20, 2019
Chuck Schumer: “A great bipartisan moment.”
“Today, the United States Senate sent a clear message to Hong Kongers fighting for their long-cherished freedoms: we hear you, we continue to stand with you, and we will not stand idly by as Beijing undermines your autonomy." — Sen. Marco Rubio
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) November 19, 2019
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.”
The passage of ‘#HongKong Human Rights and Democracy Act’ is very disappointing. The democracy and human rights held so dearly by the American people are once again abused by some American politicians to justify violence and disorder. Do they want to side with the rioters? SAD! https://t.co/WF5ryMBqCO
— Chinese Embassy in US (@ChineseEmbinUS) November 20, 2019
China ‘will retaliate’ if Donald Trump signs Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law https://t.co/XqSVdKUJSt
— Mike Epling (@michaelevs) November 20, 2019