President Trump reviews two Congressional bills on Hong Kong

World Today

President Donald Trump said he’s reviewing two bills on Hong Kong passed by Congress.

Trump is facing pressure to enact them into law; but doing so risks further straining ties with the Chinese government, which has denounced the measures.

CGTN’s Gerald Tan walks us through the legislation.

The United States Congress said it’s sending a clear message about the situation in Hong Kong. But China has strongly condemned the bills as meddling and interference in its internal affairs. At the heart of the dispute are two pieces of legislation.

The first is the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

It requires the U.S. to impose sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for alleged human rights violations. It also requires the State Department to review Hong Kong’s preferential trade status every year.

The 100-member U.S. Senate passed the act unanimously. While the House of Representatives passed it 417 to one.

The second measure is the Protect Hong Kong Act, which bars the sale of crowd-control items such as tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police.

Again, there was unanimous approval from Senate, and also in the House, in a rare show of bi-partisan support.

Both bills are now on the desk of U.S. President Donald Trump. But he walks a delicate tightrope trying to not offend Beijing as China and the U.S. work on finalizing a trade deal.

“I have a very good relationship, as you know, with President Xi. We’re in the final throes of a very important deal. I guess you could say one of the most important deals in trade, ever. It’s going very well. But, at the same time, we want to see it go well in Hong Kong, and I think it will. I think that President Xi can make that happen and I know him, and I know he would like to make it happen,” Trump said.

So, what happens now? President Trump can either sign the bills into law or veto them. If he does neither, they automatically become law after ten days.

But even if he vetoes the bills, Congress could override his decision, setting up yet another showdown between the legislative and executive branches of the United States — and, not to mention, another clash with China.