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International News

Nov 20, 2019
2:29PM

China summons US Diplomat, warns of 'Strong Measures' over Hong Kong rights bill

AIR Pics
China's foreign ministry today summoned a top US diplomat over the Senate's passing of a Hong Kong rights bill, warning of strong countermeasures against the United States should the legislation be signed into law.

China's Foreign Ministry in a statement said that Vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu called in acting charge d'affaires William Klein to lodge a strong protest.

The US Senate, on Tuesday, has unanimously passed The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 that would also require the Secretary of State to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong still retains enough autonomy to warrant the special US trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial center.

The US treats semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which has its own legal and political systems, differently from the Chinese mainland when it comes to trade and export controls.

The bill - if it becomes law - will demand greater scrutiny of the city's special status.

The bill, which among other things prohibit the commercial export of certain munitions to the Communist party-controlled Hong Kong Police Force, would provide sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.

The House of Representatives passed similar legislation in October.

Since June, Hong Kong has seen massive, regular demonstrations, which started in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed its citizens to be extradited to the mainland.

The protests quickly morphed into wider calls for democracy and opposition to growing Chinese influence. Beijing denies interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and has blamed Western countries for stirring up unrest.

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