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A dwindling core of hard-line protesters held their ground on Thursday at a Hong Kong university besieged for days by police, as the USA passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

The U.S. Congress has taken a stand in favor of Hong Kong's autonomy, as pro-democracy protests continue there.

"There have always been some uncertainties in trade talks but that won't erase positive effects from signs of bottoming out in the global manufacturing sector", he said.

The House and Senate passed the two bills over the past two days supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement-a measure that has angered the Chinese regime.

"We urge the United States to grasp the situation, stop its wrongdoing before it's too late, prevent this act from becoming law [and] immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs", Geng said at a daily news briefing.

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Futures pointed higher in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.

"The communist government of China needs to know that if they take further aggressive action against the protesters, and perhaps escalating threats and the loss of life, from the injury to the protester.it will escalate the battle here in the Congress".

The group emerged from a campus entrance and held hands as they walked toward a checkpoint around 3 a.m.

Makeshift signs at the campus warned people not to smoke near areas where Molotov cocktails were stockpiled.

When Hong Kong was handed over from Britain to China in 1997, it was agreed the territory would be allowed to maintain its unique freedoms and civil liberties for the next 50 years - a deal the protesters believe has not been honoured by Beijing.

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"He's got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren't going in only because I asked him, 'Please don't do that".

For now, the act is mostly symbolic, since any adjustments to the trade status hinge the conclusions of an annual review, says Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Asian equities are lacking a clear directional bias on Friday amid mixed headlines on the US-China trade. The talks have stumbled over how much tariff relief the Trump administration is willing to grant China.

Samuel Chu, the managing director of the US -based Hong Kong Democracy Council, said in a statement sent to Newsweek that he was "deeply and personally moved by the actions in Congress this week".

The U.S. president said he told Xi not to send troops into Hong Kong, as that would hinder prospects for a trade deal. "There are too many moving parts, it's very tricky". But despite the strong support in the US Congress, there is no indication at this stage whether or not Trump will sign it.

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According to the State Department, more than 1,300 US companies operate in Hong Kong, benefiting from proximity to China, as well as the city's independent judiciary and rule of law. "We urge the U.S. to grasp the situation, stop its wrongdoing before it's too late, and immediately take measures to prevent this act from becoming law", he said.

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