Donald Trump Signs Hong Kong Human Rights Act, China Warns 'firm Countermeasures'

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Donald Trump signs Hong Kong bill, China warns of retaliation through "firm countermeasures" in a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

Written By Tanima Ray | Mumbai | Updated On:
Donald Trump

As US President Donald Trump has signed the controversial Hong Kong bill, China on November 28 has warned of taking "firm countermeasures" against the United States. On November 27, Trump reportedly signed the bill after it received almost unanimous US congressional support. The US President in a statement said that he hoped that the Chinese Government will resolve their differences with the people of Hong Kong referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping, leaders, and representatives. Trump signalled that he didn’t want the broader relationship with China to veer off track. He also expressed concerns with unspecified portions of the new law, saying they risked interfering with his constitutional authority to carry out American foreign policy. The move has sparked dissent amongst the Beijing administration who termed it an "an act of undisguised hegemony".

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China warns of "firm countermeasures"

The Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement said that the nature of Trump's action is extremely abominable, and harbors absolutely sinister intentions, without specifying what measures Beijing might take. The ministry further added that it also seriously violates international law and the basic norms of international relations. They also accused the US of supporting the "endangerment of social order by violent criminals" and seeking to destroy the stability of Hong Kong. They warned the US not to obstinately go its own way, otherwise, China will take firm countermeasures, and the US side must bear all the ensuing consequences.

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Since Trump has signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, he will have to annually review the city's favorable trade status under American law. It could also be revoked if the semi-autonomous territory's freedoms are quashed. Earlier, the US Congress had also passed legislation banning sales of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment used by Hong Kong security forces in putting down the protests. The move threatens to complicate trade talks with Beijing just as the two nations get close to signing a phase one deal.

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Stocks hit

Both the Asian US and Asian stocks slid after Trump signed the bill with the yen nudging higher and the yuan lower. Though declines were still modest at the open, Hong Kong shares were among the worst performers. On Tuesday, Trump had said that the two sides were in the “final throes” of a deal that would start to unwind tariffs on about $500 billion in products traded between them. Likewise, the Chinese Government also hoped to deescalate tensions.

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(With inputs from agencies)

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