The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill requested by pro-democratic protesters in Hong Kong that aims to defend civil rights in semi-autonomous territory, which sparked a furious response from China.
The “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Law,” which will now pass to the Senate for discussion before it can become law, has attracted rare bipartisan support in a currently polarized Congress.
Today we are simply urging Chinese President and Hong Kong Executive President Carrie Lam to faithfully keep the promises of the government” that Hong Kong’s rights and autonomy would be protected, said Republican Rep. Chris Smith on Tuesday sponsor of the bill.
The law would put an end to the United States special trade statute for Hong Kong unless the State Department annually certifies that city authorities respect human rights and the rule of law.
The law would also require the president of the United States to identify and punish those responsible for the erosion of autonomy and serious human rights abuses in Hong Kong.
China expressed “strong outrage” over the passage of the bill.
What Hong Kong faces is not the so-called problem of human rights and democracy at all, but the issue of stopping violence restoring order and defending the rule of law as soon as possible said the spokesman for the Ministry of Relations Outsiders Geng Shuang in a statement.
Hong Kong, a former British colony and now a semi-autonomous Chinese region, has been shaken for months by demonstrations by citizens who accuse Beijing of stripping it of its freedoms. However, China portrays protesters as violent separatists and becomes enraged at any foreign interference in the matter.