On Wednesday, President Trump showed support for the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong by signing a bi-partisan bill that imposes sanctions on officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong, The New York Times reported.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong,” the president said in a statement. “They are being enacted 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.”
(Via The New York Times)
The bill would require the State Department to annually review the special autonomous status it grants Hong Kong in trade considerations. That status is separate from the relationship with mainland China, and a revocation of the status would mean less favorable trade conditions between the United States and Hong Kong.
After the Senate approved the bill, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced it, saying it “interferes in China’s internal affairs” and “violates the basic norms of international law and international relations.”
The Hong Kong government said the bill was “unnecessary and unwarranted” and would harm relations between the United States and Hong Kong.
The pro-democracy protests seem to have captured public support in Hong Kong. On Sunday, pro-democracy parties picked up a staggering number of seats amid record voter turnout in Hong Kong's district council elections. The vote was seen as a stunning rebuke to Beijing and its supporters.
It remains to be seen what impact, if any, the bill signed into law on Wednesday will have on the current talks to end the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.