Over the holiday weekend, President Trump did something that deserves recognition and applause. Congress had overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support of the pro-freedom and democracy protesters in Hong Kong (disclosure: I lived in Hong Kong for nearly seven years as a child), sending the measure to the president's desk. Facing veto-proof majorities on one hand, and a Chinese government adamantly opposed to the resolution on the other, the path of least resistance would have been to passively allow the bill to become law by taking no action for ten days.
Under that scenario, Trump wouldn't have taken the active step of a veto, which would have been rightly condemned and very likely overridden -- but he wouldn't have affirmatively sided with Hong Kongers, angering the very Chinese government with which he's very eager to strike a trade deal, with high-stakes and delicate negotiations underway. He could have told Congress that he didn't want to poke China in the eye in the midst of trade talks, while assuring the Chinese that his hands were tied, so he did his best to stay neutral. But the president declined the cop-out route:
President Trump signed a bill designed to show solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, despite previously expressing reservations about the legislation because of its potential to complicate U.S.-China trade talks. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 reaffirms and amends the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, detailing U.S. policy toward Hong Kong and ordering an assessment of the political developments there, among other things...China’s Foreign Ministry said Beijing is opposed to the bill’s signing and threatened countermeasures if the U.S. doesn’t change course. It didn’t specify what those might be.
Here's one apparent "countermeasure:"
China is barring U.S. Navy port calls and American military aircraft from visiting Hong Kong — in retaliation for Washington's recent adoption of legislation supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.— NPR (@NPR) December 2, 2019
The government in China also summoned the US Ambassador to register its profound displeasure, with the foreign ministry railing against the move on social media. One senior apparatchik teed off on the US generally, in a whirlwind of ham-handed false-equivalency Communist propaganda:
2. The living conditions of African-Americans are worrisome. The median white family has about 10 times as much wealth as the median black family. African Americans are 2.5 times as likely to be in poverty as whites, about twice as likely to be in unemployment as whites.— Lijian Zhao ??? (@zlj517) November 28, 2019
His clumsy use of "the white" and "the black" is legitimately funny, with extra bonus points for his subsequent attacks against, er, voter ID laws. This critique on voting rights and race relations is brought to you by...a bureaucrat in the authoritarian, minority-oppressing, dictatorial Chinese regime? Bold move. One can understand why Beijing is so touchy about Hong Kong these days, though, considering the double blows of democracy it has recently suffered in both Washington and Hong Kong itself:
Hong Kongers delivered a resounding blow to the city’s political establishment on Sunday, when the district council elections saw record turnout and an unprecedented victory for the pro-democracy camp. Pro-democracy candidates took nearly 90 percent of the available seats, tripling their previous total...Fears that voting hours might be curtailed helped drive a morning surge in turnout. By 1:30 p.m., total turnout had already exceeded any previous district council ballot, and by the close of voting at 10:30 p.m., with nearly 3 million votes cast and 71.2 percent turnout, it was the biggest election ever held in Hong Kong. Turnout in 2015 was 1.4 million voters—47 percent of those registered—and handed 70 percent of district council seats to pro-Beijing parties. Pan-democrats’ best-case scenario that morning had been for the pro-democracy “yellow” camp to control a narrow majority of district councils. The outcome far exceeded that. Seventeen of Hong Kong’s 18 district councils are now controlled by pan-democrats. The lone holdout, Islands district, chose pro-democracy candidates in seven of its 10 directly elected seats, but the pro-Beijing camp retains the balance of power thanks to ex officio seats given to chairs of the rural committees...
This overwhelming show of force from Hong Kong's electorate, coupled with President Trump's signing of the resolution (how committed he is to enforcement remains to be seen, although this move was a welcome sign), adds up to a bad few weeks for the Communists. Here's Ben Sasse sneering at the regime's aforementioned "tantrum" against the US Navy:
I'll leave you with the latest evidence of Beijing's horrors against ethnic and religious minorities -- and, as promised, Hong Kongers signing and cheering the Star Spangled Banner after President Trump defied Xi by signing Congress' measure:
This is...mass rape, right? Am I exaggerating to call this mass rape? If I'm exaggerating, let me know.https://t.co/qIhGZoRKaD— Noah Smith ?? (@Noahpinion) December 1, 2019
If those 'USA' chants don't stir you as an American, you may want to check your pulse.