What’s less clear is what “countermeasures” Beijing may take in response to what it said Thursday were “extremely evil” and dangerous moves.
Before signing the bills, Trump said he was concerned that trade talks with China might be disrupted. Analysts say the potential consequences could extend well beyond the current round of negotiations in the tariff war between the world’s two largest economies.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 passed both houses of Congress nearly unanimously. It amends a law passed in 1992 to buttress the former British colony’s status as a semi-autonomous region after China took control in 1997.
It’s that special status that has enabled Hong Kong residents to take to the streets in massive, often violent protests in the past six months, exercising civil liberties the ruling Communist Party prohibits in mainland China.
The law calls for sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials deemed to have abused human rights.
A separate law bans exports of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, water cannons, tasers and other “nonlethal” weapons often used in riot control.
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