On Wednesday, Donald Trump publically took action on the call to support pro-democracy and human rights protesters in the embattled city of Hong Kong.
After Congress and the Senate passed two bipartisan bills that put pressure on the Chinese government to uphold human rights standards during this period of unrest, many were unsure if Donald Trump would sign off on the resolutions.
However, Trump issued a statement confirming his support for the bills, declaring:
I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”
According to Breitbart, The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act mandates the placement of sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials that commit human rights abuses and requires the State Department to conduct an annual review to verify that Hong Kong has sufficient autonomy to retain favorable trade status with the US.
The second bill prohibits the sale of some non-lethal weapons and munitions, including tear gas and water cannons, to the Hong Kong police.
Trump reportedly wrestled with the decision to approve the bills, stating last week that “we have to stand with Hong Kong … But I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy.”
Trump’s ultimate decision to officially stand with Hong Kong prompted a furious response from the Chinese government.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Friday, “China firmly opposes Hong Kong Act. We have made stern representations & strong protests to the U.S. It is a stark hegemonic practice & a severe interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs. China will take strong countermeasures.”