Chinese Foreign Ministry threatens to retaliate against US over Hong Kong rights act
Moscow/Sputnik/UNI: China’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday threatened it would retaliate against the United States in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s move to sign into law a bill that supports human rights amid mass protests in China’s Hong Kong special administrative region.
Late on Wednesday, the White House said Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 and another law that prohibited US exports of specified police equipment to Hong Kong. The acts amend the existing legislation, opening a way for imposing sanctions on human rights offenders in Hong Kong and stipulating that assessment of the developments in the region be carried out annually to determine the level of Hong Kong’s autonomy from China, a key aspect of the United States’ trade with the region.
"We suggest that the United States does not put its foot down because otherwise China will have to take serious countermeasures and the United States will have to bear full responsibility for their consequences," the ministry said in a statement published on its website.
The ministry also slammed the US’ new laws as an "unconcealed hegemonic behavior" and meddling in China’s domestic affairs.
Hong Kong has been gripped by the violent protests since June. The demonstrations were initially a response to an extradition bill but it was officially withdrawn in October. Still, the protests continued with the demonstrators claiming that the authorities excessively use power to suppress them, something denied by the government. Nearly 4,500 people have been detained, more than 1,500 people have been hospitalized and more than 400 security personnel have been injured in the unrest.
Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the situation in Hong Kong is a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expressed full support for the local authorities.