09/26/2019, 13.14
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Beijing slams US over Hong Kong human rights law

by Paul Wang

The US Congress is set to vote on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 shortly after 14 October. The laww would impose sanctions against the Hong Kong government and Chinese officials who undermine human rights in the territory. For China, those in Hong Kong who support the law are "traitors".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – China announced that it will be forced to hit back at the United States after two US Senate and House of Representatives committees approved a draft bill in favour of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong.

Yesterday the two congressional committees approved the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, which should go before the full Congress shortly after Columbus Day, 14  October.

If adopted, the bill would impose economic sanctions on the Hong Kong government and Chinese officials deemed responsible for undermining the human rights of the people of the territory.

Furthermore,  the law would require an annual review of Hong Kong's status which, insofar as it is different from China's, enjoys a preferential treatment and is not subject to certain duties and penalties.

Responding to the US move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang this morning said in a statement that the bill was an attempt to “wantonly interfere in China’s domestic affairs”, showiong the “malicious intention of some in the US Congress to contain China’s development”.

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council issued a separate statement, which said that the bill was intended to support anti-China forces and rioters in Hong Kong, and described the Hong Kong people who demanded the passage of the bill as “traitors”.

For over three months the territory has been shaken by huge manifestations. What started out as a push for the cancellation of a bill that would allow extradition to China morphed into a movement for full democracy, along with three other demands, namely an independent investigation into police violence, the refutation of the claim that the protesters rioted, and an amnesty for those arrested.

Some violence and vandalism did occur on the sidelines of peaceful demonstrations to which the police responded with excessive use of force and mass arrests.

To try to mend the situation, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, plans to meet with a hundred people this evening and engage in dialogue with the community, allowing people to express their needs.

Yesterday however, Song Ru'an, an official at the Foreign Ministry's office in Hong Kong, ruled out the possibility that the Hong Kong government might meet the five demands. "Response does not mean concession," he said.

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