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China Continues Warning U.S. To Not Activate Hong Kong Democracy Act

Nov. 29, 2019 (EIRNS)—Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng yesterday summoned Ambassador Terry Branstad “to lodge stern representations and strong protest against the United States” for enactment of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Before President Donald Trump had signed the bill, protests had been lodged with a lower-level embassy official.

“China strongly urges the U.S. to correct its mistake and make a fresh start, not to put the Act into effect, and immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs or interfering in China’s other internal affairs so as to avoid making further damages to bilateral ties and cooperation in important areas between China and the United States,”

Le told Branstad, reported Xinhua.

China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang yesterday emphasized at his weekly press conference that “the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong ... has the resolve, confidence and ability to fulfill its duties, safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and maintain Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.”

Global Times likewise emphasized in a late Nov. 28 article (“HK Act Sponsors Could Be Put on No-Entry List: Analysts”) that the series of statements from differing government departments “were interpreted as the central government’s determination to treat Hong Kong issues from a national security perspective. And if external forces pose a threat to China’s national security, Beijing will take action immediately.”

Two points of discussion presented in this Global Times article are also notable:

1) proposals that Chinese countermeasures include targetting U.S. individuals and companies who interfere in Hong Kong affairs under the act and U.S. companies, prohibiting such individuals from visiting China and banning such companies access to Chinese markets;

2) the assessment that, while there is a clear distinction between President Trump and Congress in handling the bill, its passage shows “that the hawkish political force in Washington is strong,” and Trump lacked the political power to veto it. Within that, as another professor argued, Trump is viewed as “using the act as leverage for trade negotiations with China, but Congress is not, especially for those who advocate to besiege China with ideology. So the discretion of the act will probably be a problem between the U.S. President and Congress.”

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