China has warned the U.S. it will take what it calls “strong countermeasures” after U.S. lawmakers passed a bill backing Hong Kong’s protesters.
The bipartisan legislation puts President Trump in an awkward position.
He’s expected to sign it, but doing so threatens a deal to resolve the trade war with China.
CGTN’s Owen Fairclough has more.
It’s not easy to unite the U.S. Congress in the current political climate.
But lawmakers were almost unanimous in their support backing Hong Kong’s protesters over China’s government.
“If America does not speak up for human rights in China because of commercial issues, we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights anywhere in the world,” said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Their legislation enforces an annual audit of the special relationship that gives Hong Kong autonomy from the Chinese mainland in trade, contingent partly on human rights being upheld.
It also bans U.S. export of equipment to the Hong Kong police, including pepper spray and rubber bullets used during often violent demonstrations.
But if U.S lawmakers think human rights are under threat in Hong Kong, China accuses them of trying to interfere in its internal affairs.
“If the U.S. continues to make the wrong moves, China will be taking strong countermeasures for sure. No one should underestimate China’s determination to safeguard the interests of national sovereign security and development, to implement the ‘one country, two systems’ policy and to safeguard Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”
It isn’t immediately clear what that retaliation would be.
But President Trump is expected to sign this legislation into law just as his administration is finalizing a deal to resolve the trade battle.”
And that deal is beginning to look troubled.
Touring an Apple factory in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday, to tout the benefits of American manufacturing, Trump said a trade deal with China hadn’t been finalized yet “because I don’t think they’re stepping up to the level that I want.”
And according to White House sources quoted by Reuters, that deal may not be signed until next year at the earliest.