Hong Kong, Nov 28: US President Donald Trump has signed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law, a bill in support of the months long pro-democracy protests in this China administered autonomous region, that could impose diplomatic and economic sanctions against Hong Kong government, South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday.
"The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act reaffirms and amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, specifies United States policy towards Hong Kong and directs assessment of the political developments in Hong Kong," the White House said in a statement. "Certain provisions of the act would interfere with the exercise of the president's constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States."
As per the law, Hong Kong is part of China but has a largely separate legal and economic system, it reads, "The [annual review] shall assess whether China has eroded Hong Kong's civil liberties and rule of law as protected by Hong Kong's Basic Law."
Among other things, Hong Kong's special trading status means it is not affected by US sanctions or tariffs placed on the mainland. The bill also says the US should allow Hong Kong residents to obtain US visas, even if they have been arrested for being part of non-violent protests.
The legislation has provoked a backlash from the Chinese government, which on Monday summoned US ambassador to China Terry Branstad to warn that Congress' passage of the legislation last week constituted "meddling" in the country’s internal affairs and would result in "consequences".
Trump also signed into law the PROTECT Hong Kong act, which will prohibit the sale of US-made munitions such as tear gas and rubber bullets to the city’s authorities.
"I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong," Trump, who is trying to mend US's trade ties with the South Asian country said in a White House press release. "They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all." The bill’s passage came in the wake of a landslide victory for pan-democrats in Hong Kong’s local elections on Sunday, with the pro-democracy camp winning in 17 of the city’s 18 districts. UNI