ZeroHedge reports that the U.S. Senate is prepared to pass legislation showing support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
By passing this legislation, Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S. will be placed under annual review.
Bloomberg reports that the Senate is preparing to bring the bill to the floor via a process that would fastrack the bill’s vote unless there’s an objection, according to the bill’s chief sponsor, Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Because no one will likely reject this bill, it is expected pass some time next week.
“The world witnesses the people of Hong Kong standing up every day to defend their long-cherished freedoms against an increasingly aggressive Beijing and Hong Kong government,” Rubio stated. “Now more than ever, the United States must send a clear message to Beijing that the free world stands with Hong Kongers in their struggle.”
Rubio and Democratic co-sponsor, Senator Ben Cardin, have gathered solid bipartisan support for their Hong Kong bill. Other supporters include Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch, who urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to quickly vote on the bill.
Last Wednesday, Rubio and McConnell met to discuss how to move the legislation forward, which would also impose sanctions on Chinese officials who are found responsible for committing human rights violations.
“The world needs to see that the United States will stand up and tell the Chinese Communist Party that what they are doing to the people of Hong Kong is wrong,” Risch declared in a statement. “The U.S. stands with the people of Hong Kong, and I look forward to continuing to work with Senate leadership and my colleagues across the aisle to move this bill swiftly.”
Hong Kong protests have heated up ever since a demonstrator was shot last Monday.
So far, the White House declined to comment on this bill due to Trump’s ongoing negotiations with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump hasn’t taken a strong stance on Hong Kong thus far.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would have the State Department review at least one time per year whether Hong Kong should maintain its special status under U.S. law. This legislation deviates slightly from the House version passed last month, which means that these bills would have to be reconciled and passed again in both chambers before reaching President Trump’s desk.
President Xi recently declared that “stopping the storm and restoring order” in Hong Kong is the most pressing matter for Hong Kong. He has even floated the idea of a possible military intervention by the People’s Liberation Army. Additionally, the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday of a potential retaliation against the U.S. if the Hong Kong bill passes Congress. It added that China will take harsh measures to protect its interests and demanded that the U.S. stop interfering in Hong Kong.
China has become a major issue in the Trump era.
Although the country has reformed in some regards since the Mao era, it still remains authoritarian and adversarial to U.S. interests.
The Trump approach by using tariffs as a form soft power will likely keep China in check and remind it that the U.S. is willing to stand up to its devious corporate practices and underhanded ways of undermining the rule of law abroad.
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