President Donald Trump’s signing of bills on Hong Kong human rights drew a furious reaction from China’s Communist regime on Thursday, with the U.S. ambassador in Beijing summoned to face a warning the move has been denounced by “all Chinese people” and the U.S. should ready for a “stern” response.
Trump signed the bills, which were approved by near unanimous consent in the House and Senate, in a show of support for Kong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators, as Breitbart News reported.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump 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.”
The law, which confirms the U.S. backing pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong, further escalates tensions between Beijing and the U.S. and elicited a spirited denunciation from China.
“This is a pure interference in China’s internal affairs,” China’s ministry of foreign affairs said on Thursday, hours after the bill was passed into law. “This bill, which has been denounced by all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, is full of prejudice and arrogance. It treats Hong Kong with intimidation and threats.
“Such an act will make Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the U.S.,” the ministry added in comments repeated across Chinese state media. “The U.S. plot is doomed to fail.”
Beijing summoned U.S. ambassador Terry Branstad for the second time in a week to demand Washington stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. China also promised it would retaliate with “firm countermeasures”
Asked what those countermeasures would be, Geng Shuang, spokesman for the ministry simply said: “What is due to come will eventually come.”
Trump also signed a second bill passed by Congress, banning the export to the Hong Kong police of crowd-control munitions, such as teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.
“I signed these bills out of respect for president Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. 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,” Trump confirmed a statement on Wednesday.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 allows the United States to level sanctions on individuals who carry out human rights violations in Hong Kong, which has been rocked by mass protests for more than five months.
The legislation also requires the State Department’s annual certification to Congress that Hong Kong is “upholding the rule of law and protecting rights” before continuing the city’s special relationship with the U.S.
Hong Kong, a former British colony that was granted special autonomy when China took control in 1997, has been rocked by six months of sometimes violent pro-democracy demonstrations, as Breitbart News has reported extensively from the outset.
AP and AFP contributed to this report