Beijing slams ‘hidden agenda’ behind Hong Kong ‘human rights act’ as US Senate votes unanimously in favor
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed through the Senate on Tuesday after a unanimous voice vote, following a similar unchallenged approval of a companion bill in the House in October. Both chambers of Congress are now set to reconcile the two different versions of the law before it goes to President Donald Trump’s desk for a final sign-off, however the full support of both houses makes a veto unlikely.Also on rt.com ‘Emboldening radicals’: China fumes after US lawmakers approve Hong Kong ‘human rights act’
While the law has been hailed by Hong Kong’s protest movement, with activists flying to Washington in September to lobby Congress to vote in its favor, Beijing eviscerated the bill, calling it a “serious violation of international law.” In a statement on Tuesday the Chinese Foreign Ministry reiterated its staunch opposition to the bill, arguing that its aim is not to underpin democracy, but deter China by fanning extremist sentiment inside the country.
The aim is to bolster anti-China, extremist and violent radicals who attempt to disrupt Hong Kong, damage Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, so that they can contain China by making a fuss out of the Hong Kong issue, which is exactly the malicious intention of certain people.
The ministry said the bill seeks to misrepresent violent actions as a pursuit of human rights and democracy, and is driven by a “hidden political agenda.”
Sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators including Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), the bill, if passed, would require the Secretary of State to issue an annual “certification” affirming that Hong Kong enjoys the proper amount of autonomy from mainland China in a number of areas, though exactly how Washington will quantify such a thing remains a mystery. President Trump would also be asked to submit a report to Congress under the law outlining “each foreign person” he determines to be “responsible for… gross violations of internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong.” The individuals would then be considered for sanctions.
Just a reminder that in detail the Hong Kong human rights and democracy act, has little to do with human rights and democracy, the legal text of the bill is all about subjugating the city to America's own foreign policy goals and interests at the threat of its special status.— Tom Fowdy (@Tom_Fowdy) November 19, 2019
A major backer of the bill, Senator Menendez celebrated its approval in a somewhat messianic tweet, calling it a “shot in the arm for the millions who have been patiently waiting for the US to once again serve as a beacon of light & solidarity in their push to defend their basic rights & autonomy.”
With the situation in #HongKong nearing a breaking point, this legislation will hopefully be a shot in the arm for the millions who have been patiently waiting for the US to once again serve as a beacon of light & solidarity in their push to defend their basic rights & autonomy.— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) November 19, 2019
On the heels of the vote on the human rights law, the Senate passed a second bill on Tuesday, also unanimously, seeking to ban the export of certain riot control munitions to Hong Kong’s police force, including tear gas, pepper spray, stun guns, and rubber bullets.
Hong Kong has been gripped by chaotic protests since March, initially over a now-withdrawn extradition bill which critics said would give too much power to the mainland. The demonstrations have been marked by escalating violence, culminating this weekend in a massive police standoff at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where hundreds of protesters were arrested after barricading themselves inside.Also on rt.com UN decries ‘extreme violence’ by Hong Kong protesters amid fears of further escalation
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