UPDATED 6:30 PM PT — Wednesday, November 27, 2019
President Trump has signed a pair of bipartisan bills aimed at protecting Hong Kong protesters.
#BREAKING: Pres. Trump approves two bills in support of Hong Kong protesters. One bill allows the U.S. to sanction anyone who’s responsible for human rights abuses, while the other bans the export of tear gas, rubber bullets & other controlled items. pic.twitter.com/15eOlJQbX1
— Chloe Salsameda (@ChloeSalsameda) November 27, 2019
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act cleared the House and Senate last week with overwhelming support.
Passed in the Senate today by Unanimous Consent:
1. S.1838 – Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act with Rubio substitute amendment.
2. S.2710 – A bill to prohibit the commercial export of covered munitions items to the Hong Kong Police Force with Merkley amendments.
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) November 19, 2019
It will empower the Trump administration to impose sanctions on officials from China or Hong Kong for violating human rights. A separate piece of legislation will ban the export of tear gas, rubber bullets and other crowd control items.
Mainland China condemned the move and has threatened to retaliate. According to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Beijing “will take strong opposing measures” and the U.S. will “bear all the consequences.”
This comes as President Trump tries to strike a trade deal with Beijing. He has been pushing for a deal that would force China to purchase $50 billion of U.S. agricultural goods in the next two years. An initial trade deal could also roll back tariffs on roughly $360 billion worth of Chinese goods.
Reports revealed the deal is also expected to open China’s financial sector and implement new intellectual property protections. Senior administration officials are reportedly very close to a preliminary trade deal.