US Senate backs Hong Kong human rights Acts, angering China
WASHINGTON : The US Senate unanimously adopted legislation on Tuesday supporting "human rights and democracy" in Hong Kong and threatened to revoke its special economic status.
The lawmakers also approved a measure that would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment that have been used by forces to suppress pro-democracy protests.
China said it would "have to take strong countermeasures" if the US kept making "wrong decisions".
Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the US aims to "support the extremists and violent elements against China that are trying to mess up Hong Kong... and realise their sinister plot to hinder China's development by taking advantage of the Hong Kong issue".
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would require the US president to annually review the trade status Washington grants to Hong Kong.
It also mandates sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials who commit human rights abuses.
The Senate "sent a clear message to Hong Kongers fighting for their long-cherished freedoms: We hear you, we continue to stand with you and we will not stand idly by as Beijing undermines your autonomy," Republican Senator Marco Rubio said.
Hong Kong is due on Sunday to hold elections to its legislature, half of which is directly elected while the other half is stacked with pro-Beijing lawmakers.
Its Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung warned yesterday that violence could "ruin" the chances of holding the polls. - AFP