Quantcast
Connect with us

Senate passes Hong Kong rights bill — angering China

Published

on

The US Senate unanimously adopted legislation Tuesday supporting “human rights and democracy” in Hong Kong and threatening to revoke its special economic status, angering China which promptly summoned a US diplomat and threatened countermeasures.

The lawmakers also approved a measure that would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment that have been used by security forces to suppress pro-democracy protests for nearly six months.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chinese vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu summoned the acting US charge d’affaires, William Klein, to lodge a “strong protest” and demand that the US prevent the bill from becoming law. US ambassador Terry Branstad was out of the country.

“Otherwise, the Chinese side will take strong measures to resolutely counter it, and the US side must bear all the consequences,” the statement said.

China had also reacted angrily when the US House of Representatives passed a similar measure last month.

The Senate’s Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would require the US president to annually review the favorable trade status that Washington grants to Hong Kong.

It also mandates sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials who commit human rights abuses including “extrajudicial rendition.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The Senate “sent a clear message to Hong Kongers fighting for their long-cherished freedoms: We hear you, we continue to stand with you and we will not stand idly by as Beijing undermines your autonomy,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said.

Passage of the bill marks “an important step in holding accountable those Chinese and Hong Kong government officials responsible for Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy and human rights violations.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat, Robert Menendez, added that the legislation “makes it clear that the US will stand firmly and unambiguously with the legitimate aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US purpose was to “support the extremists and violent elements against China that are trying to mess up Hong Kong… and realise their sinister plot to hinder China’s development by taking advantage of the Hong Kong issue.”

The pro-democracy movement was ignited in June when millions took to streets in opposition to a now-abandoned attempt to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to the mainland.

ADVERTISEMENT

The protests and resulting crackdowns have turned parts of Hong Kong into violent battlegrounds for weeks.

On Tuesday protesters occupying a university defied warnings to surrender, as skirmishes between police and demonstrators continued.

The Senate bill updates the original Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.

ADVERTISEMENT

Senator Ben Cardin noted how Hong Kong has enjoyed a special economic status for years, one that relied on authorities “protecting democracy and human rights” in the territory.

“That was the commitment. And if they don’t comply with that, the special status should no longer be available,” Cardin said.

The House and Senate will now harmonize the texts into a single bill to pass Congress and go to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Impeaching Trump without addressing America’s deeper structural problems will only make things worse: journalist Chris Hedges

Published

on

The United States is sick with income and other forms of social inequality. It suffers from cruelty, loneliness, greed, gangster capitalism, white supremacy, violence, sexism and a culture of ignorance and distraction. Our broken political system does not encourage critical thinking or nurture a capacity for responsible, engaged citizenship.President Donald Trump is the human embodiment of almost everything wrong with American society. He is both the symptom and the disease.
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Democrats face critical decision on adding new charges to articles of impeachment

Published

on

House Democrats are divided over whether to add special counsel Robert Mueller's evidence to the impeachment process.

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday will hear evidence turned up during testimony from the impeachment inquiry focusing on President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden, but some Democrats want to expand the process to include the Russia investigation, reported The Daily Beast.

“This office has been abused and damaged in profound ways,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA). “I personally would be for holding him accountable for every bit of it. Not for every grievance we have — I wouldn't include his bad behavior or his offensive rhetoric — but some specific actions that I believe that have abused authority and rise to the level of impeachable offense, in my view, would go well beyond the current Ukraine scandal.”

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump aides facing jail time counting on pardons as president faces impeachment: report

Published

on

According to a report from Politico, former Trump aides facing jail time -- or already in jail -- are using every means possible to get President Donald Trump to issue a blanket pardon before he faces impeachment in the Senate.

The report notes that advocates for former campaign manager Paul Manafort, security adviser Michale Flynn, and Trump supporter Roger Stone are fanning out to right-wing outlets such as Fox News to get the president's attention.

Continue Reading