President Trump Signs Hong Kong Democracy Act, and China Issues Angry Response
Nov. 28, 2019 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, written by the anti-China lobby and passed in Congress last week—in the Senate by unanimous consent on Nov. 19 and by the House on Nov. 20 in a 417-1 vote, with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) as the lone dissenter.
In signing the act, Trump appended two short statements, one of which said he signed “out of respect for President Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong,” 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 second statement, interestingly, establishes that
“Certain provisions of the Act would interfere with the exercise of the President’s constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States. My Administration will treat each of the provisions of the Act consistently with the President’s constitutional authorities with respect to foreign relations.”
No further details were offered. The statement is posted on the White House website.
The President signed a second bill prohibiting the export to the Hong Kong police of crowd-control items, such as tear gas, pepper spray, or rubber bullets.
China’s Foreign Ministry responded immediately with a strongly-worded statement in its daily press conference today describing the act as a “severe interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs,” and a “serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.” It states that since 1997 with
“Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, success of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle has been universally recognized. ... The U.S. has been disregarding facts and distorting truth. It openly backed violent criminals who rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, assaulted innocent civilians, trampled on the rule of law, and jeopardized social order.... We remind the U.S. that Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs where no foreign government or force shall interfere. This Act will only further expose the malicious and hegemonic nature of U.S. intentions to the Chinese people, including our Hong Kong compatriots.... We urge the U.S. not to continue going down the wrong path, or China will take countermeasures, and the U.S. must bear all consequences.”
Furthermore, Xinhua news agency put out a terse release today that “Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng on Thursday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to lodge stern representations and strong protest against the United States signing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 into law.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, senior sponsor of the act, could barely contain his glee. As if Hong Kong were already an independent state, he crowed that with the signing, “The U.S. now has new and meaningful tools to deter further influence and interference from Beijing into Hong Kong’s internal affairs.”