By Tenzin Dharpo
Anti-government protestors on the streets of Hong Kong carrying the American flag on Oct. 14, 2019. Photo- politco.com
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 19: The United States House of Representatives on Tuesday passed three separate bills that supported the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong where anti-government Hong Kongers have faced off with pro-Beijing government’s police force for the last few months.
One bill condemned Beijing’s intrusions into Hong Kong’s affairs and supported the people’s right. Another necessitates annual reviews by the U.S. secretary of state of Hong Kong’s special economic and trade status, while the third bill halts sale of riot control gear like tear gas that are used extensively on protestors in Hong Kong. The bills which received bipartisan support in the house will also be introduced in the US Senate.
Hong Kongers were seen waving the American flag on the streets on Monday, a day before the bills were up for the floor test in the house. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who called the bills important reminders of U.S. support for human rights in spite of significant commercial interests in China also said, “If America does not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interests, then we lose all moral authority to speak out on behalf of human rights any place in the world.”
The Chinese government said that the bill would affect the US-China relations and that it will take counter measures if the bills are passed into law.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang during a regular press briefing in Beijing said, “With regards to the incorrect decision by the US, China must take strong countermeasures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and developmental interests. If the relevant bill is ultimately passed into law, not only will it harm Chinese interests but it will damage China-US relations and seriously damage the US’ own interests.”
The protests that began 9th June and is currently into its fifth month with hundreds of common Hong Kongers arrested and maimed by the police there. While there were boiling tension between the pro-democracy leaning citizens and the pro-Beijing government over the years, the controversial extradition bill sparked the ongoing protest.