REVIEW - China Accuses US Of Meddling In Internal Affairs Via Legislative Act On Hong Kong

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th October, 2019) The Chinese National People's Congress has accused the United States of interfering in its internal affairs after the US House of Representatives had passed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

The legislation came amid the ongoing protests in the Chinese Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing.


The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was passed by the lower chamber of the US Congress on Tuesday.

The bill calls on the Department of State to report annually to the Congress on the situation in Hong Kong, particularly, whether Beijing has "eroded" the region's civil liberties and rule of law.

The document also stipulates annual reports by the US Department of Commerce with regard to China's "efforts to use Hong Kong to evade US export controls and sanctions."

The act will also allow the president to impose sanctions and US entry bans on individuals found to be responsible for human rights violations toward people in Hong Kong.

Also on Tuesday, the US House of Representatives passed two other measures on Hong Kong, one supporting the protesters and another temporarily freezing US exports of crowd control equipment, such as rubber bullets and tear gas. The exports would resume once Washington receives proof that Hong Kong police are not violating human rights.

Kanishkan Sathasivam, a professor of international relations at Salem State University, told Sputnik that the resolution was unlikely to have a significant impact on the situation in Hong Kong.

"I don't expect these resolutions will make much difference. These kinds of resolutions are typically passed by Congress out of frustration in Congress' inability to affect US foreign policy in truly meaningful ways. The US Constitution gives the Executive branch significant power and autonomy with respect to foreign affairs ... Washington may take a tougher stance but it will be based on actions by the Executive branch and not Congress, although Congress may influence the Executive branch to act," Sathasivam said.

Sathasivam believes that the US has long refrained from taking a harsher stand on China's policies in Hong Kong because of the ongoing trade talks between the two nations.

"For the Administration ... the reason for not going too far in provoking Beijing is indeed to try and keep the trade talks on track. Those talks are already struggling, and mixing this issue [Hong Kong] into it would only make any possible success on the trade issues that much more unlikely. For the Administration, rightly in my view, the trade issues are more important than the HK situation. But this does not mean they don't care about HK. It just means they understand that when you are in Government, sometimes you have to make some difficult choices," the expert said.

The latest round of the US-Chinese trade negotiations took place last week, ending in a preliminary agreement that the US would postpone new duties on Chinese imports, which were scheduled for October 15, in exchange for China starting to buy US agricultural products.

US President Donald Trump said the first phase of the comprehensive deal with China could be signed at the APEC summit in Chile in mid-November.

The mass protests in Hong Kong started in early June as a reaction to proposed amendments to the city's extradition laws. On June 12, the day the bill was scheduled for a second reading in the city's Legislative Council, hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets, some clashing with security forces. Dozens of people ended up being injured, while dozens more were detained.

In early September, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced her decision to formally withdraw the controversial extradition bill. However, protesters said that they would continue rallying until she met their remaining demands, which include ending legal procedures against fellow demonstrators and launching an investigation into police violence.

Beijing views the situation in Hong Kong as a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expresses full support for the actions of the local authorities.