US House passes Hong Kong human rights bill
Donald Trump is expected to sign Hong Kong rights bill within 10 days amid delicate trade talks with Beijing. The House voted 417 to one for the ‘Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act’, which had passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday.
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights, as dozens remained holed up in a Hong Kong university surrounded by police.
The bills now go to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign or veto amid sensitive trade talks with Beijing.
The House voted 417 to one for the ‘Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act’, which had passed the Senate unanimously on Tuesday. Strong support for the measure had been expected, as House members passed a similar bill last month.
The legislation, which has angered Beijing, would require the State Department to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to qualify for the special US trading consideration that helped it become a world financial centre.
It also would provide for sanctions against officials responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.
Demonstrators in Hong Kong have taken to the streets since June angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the UK returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997.
Increasing violence in a week when about 1,000 protesters occupied a university campus and fought back against police with petrol bombs and other improvised weapons has raised concerns that Beijing will ratchet up its response to stop the civil disobedience.
Around 100 still remain holed up in the Polytechnic University, in the bustling district of Kowloon, after police sealed off the campus saying they will arrest all those inside.
According to a report in Al Jazeera those inside the campus were frightened and hungry, but also scared to leave.