Published On: Wed, Oct 16th, 2019

China news: Beijing lashes out at US over Hong Kong ‘interference’ | World | News

Hong Kong has been paralysed by unprecedented protests in recent months, with demonstrators angry at Beijing over a law which protesters fear would undermine the autonomy of the region. The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday taking a hard-line stance against China as members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – said they wanted to take an aggressive stance on China and show support for Hong Kong. But, the move has triggered a warning from Beijing who warned of “strong countermeasures” if the law was passed by the US Senate and signed by President Donald Trump.

It comes amid a bitter trade war between the US and China, as the two huge economies try to secure an agreement.

On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry criticised the move from the US House of Representatives.

China’s foreign ministry accused the lawmakers of “sinister intentions” to undermine Hong Kong’s stability and warned that bilateral relations would be damaged it become law.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement: “China must take effective measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security, and development interests.”

One of the measures, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, would require the US secretary of state to certify every year that Hong Kong retained its autonomy in order to keep receiving the special treatment that has allowed it to be a major financial centre.

A second, the Protect Hong Kong Act, would bar commercial exports of military and crowd-control items that Hong Kong police could use against demonstrators.

The Senate has not yet scheduled votes on the legislation, which could send the measures to the White House for President Trump to sign into law or veto.

READ MORE: Hong Kong’s Last Stand: China’s ‘White terror’ tactics

Protests began in the summer following news a new act would be passed through law which could enforce Hong Kong citizens be tried for crimes in China where they claim they would be unfairly treated.

The act includes measures like annual reviews of the Chinese territory’s special economic status and the imposition of sanctions on those who undermine its autonomy.

Over the weekend, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam sensationally scrapped talks with the US after a Senator showed up wearing a black outfit in support for furious protesters.

Ms Lam’s office said in a statement: “The Chief Executive did not meet with the said US Senator.”

Angry politicians also forced the Hong Kong leader to stop delivering a speech on Wednesday as Ms Lam tried to set out her policy objectives at her annual address.

Ms Lam was able to deliver the annual address more than an hour later by video after she was shouted down by chanting pro-democracy politicians.

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said he likely will not sign a trade deal with China until he meets with President Xi Jinping.

The US President, speaking to reporters at the White House, said the partial trade deal announced last week was in the process of being formalised on paper.

But, Mr Trump said he would likely would not sign any trade deal with China until he meets with Chinese President Xi at the upcoming APEC Forum in Chile.

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