11/20/2019 Hong Kong (International Christian Concern) – On Tuesday, the United States Senate unanimously passed a bill that would require an annual review of the special treatment Hong Kong receives under US law, after several months of unrest in the special administrative region of China.
In addition, the Senate also unanimously passed a second bill which would ban the export of certain crowd-control munitions to Hong Kong police forces. It bans the export of items such as tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.
With the passage of the first Senate bill, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for special U.S. trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial center. It also places sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.
The “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” will now go to the House, which last month approved its own version of the measure. The two chambers will have to work out their differences before any legislation can be sent to President Donald Trump for his consideration.
Hong Kong’s civil disobedience started last summer when the government proposed to pass an extradition bill which would hand over criminals to mainland China, a place where rule of law is not fully respected. But the protesters’ demand to retract the bill soon turned into calling for more freedoms and investigation of police brutality, as the government stepped up its effort to crack down the protests with excessive use of force.
This move by the U.S. Congress has deeply angered Beijing. Within a day of the passage, from state-owned news agency Xinhua, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hong Kong Liaison Office, to Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, more than five official agencies have come forward to strongly condemn the U.S. for meddling China’s affairs, to “avoid setting a fire that would only burn itself.”
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