The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday commanded the U.S. Congress to withdraw the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, denouncing the bill as interfering in China’s internal sovereign affairs.
State-run news service China Daily quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang responding to a media event on the pending legislation held by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and attended by “Hong Kong separatists” Joshua Wong and Denise Ho.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act acknowledges that “Hong Kong is part of China but has a largely separate legal and economic system.” The idea behind the bill is to make Hong Kong’s special trade status contingent on mainland China’s continued respect for the island’s autonomy:
At the news conference criticized by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Speaker Pelosi said both sides of the aisle in Congress “enthusiastically support this legislation” and stand with “all those who are fighting for a peaceful, hopeful future.”
The Hong Kong bill reportedly has strong support in both houses of Congress but has been received more cautiously by the Trump administration, which has declared support for the right of Hong Kong citizens to protest but wants the U.S. response to be part of the overall trade dispute with China.