USA bills condemned by Beijing await Trump signature

Police in riot gear move through a cloud of smoke as they detain a protester at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Nov. 18

Police in riot gear move through a cloud of smoke as they detain a protester at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Nov. 18

Beijing warned that the United States would shoulder the consequences of China's counter measures if it continued to "act arbitrarily" in regards to Hong Kong, according to a foreign ministry statement.

If President Trump had used his veto, lawmakers were ready to override it, so the bills would have become law any way. "This bicameral, bipartisan law reaffirms our nation's commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the face of Beijing's crackdown", Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng lodged a "strong protest" with Ambassador Terry Branstad after US President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law.

He noted a vote Sunday in which pro-democracy candidates won more than 80 percent of Hong Kong District Council seats after a record three million voters turned out in a ringing endorsement of the broader aims of the pro-democracy movement following four months of street protests.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act cleared the House and Senate last week with overwhelming support.

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Trump was not specifically asked about congressional legislation to back protesters in Hong Kong that is sitting on his desk after being passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives last week.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the Hong Kong cases are purely Chinese internal affairs that allow for no foreign intervention.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favourable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

Earlier in the day, Beijing threatened it would have to take serious countermeasures because of the US' new law, which constituted "unconcealed hegemonic behaviour" and meddling in China's domestic affairs.

China insists that the unrest in Hong Kong - a territory recovered from the United Kingdom in 1997 after a century of colonial rule - is its internal affair.

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"I'm watching with interest, the 10% rally in the last couple of days since that listing ... in Hong Kong", Gerrish said, adding that the firm owns Alibaba stock across its global portfolios.

China has repeatedly accused the USA and other Western countries of orchestrating the mass pro-democracy demonstrations that have roiled Hong Kong for six months.

That has meant, for instance, that trade-war tariffs don't apply to exports from Hong Kong. "I think that President Xi can make that happen and I know him, and I know he would like to make it happen".

The bill also says the USA should allow Hong Kong residents to obtain United States visas, even if they have been arrested for being part of non-violent protests.

Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Risch, together with Democratic Senators Ben Cardin Bob Menendez, issued a joint statement welcoming Trump's decision. USA and Chinese officials, lawmakers and trade experts warn such follow-on negotiations may prove hard given the November 2020 U. presidential election, the difficulties in getting the first stage done, and the White House's reluctance to work with other countries to pressure Beijing.

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