Hong Kong protests are escalating, which has pushed U.S. lawmakers to ‘hotline’ the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
Trump is unlikely to block the bipartisan bill, which could anger Beijing and stall trade talks.
While further tension between the U.S. and China isn’t in either nation’s best interest, China’s rhetoric suggests the nation will push back when the bill is passed.
U.S. Senators are working to fast-track a bill that would protect Hong Kong’s autonomy from China despite Beijing’s disapproval of U.S. involvement. As Hong Kong protests grow more violent, the urgency to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act has grown. Senator Marco Rubio, who sponsored the bill, and Jim Rich, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, are working to push the bill through Congress as quickly as possible in a ‘hotline process’ that could see the bill passed as quickly as Monday.
This bill puts Hong Kong’s status as an independent market under scrutiny.Under the bill, Hong Kong’s special status could be revoked if China’s military intervenes in the ongoing protests. It also calls for regular review of the area’s autonomy from China in order to maintain Hong Kong’s free market.
The revocation of Hong Kong’s status would be problematic for China because the nation depends on Hong Kong businesses’ capital inflows from the U.S. and across the world. More than that though, the bill represents the U.S.’ willingness to take a stand on China’s internal matters.
Hong Kong Vote to Upend Trade Talks
A bill like this one could be disastrous for the Trump administration’s trade talks with Beijing, which up until now, appeared to be heading in the right direction. The bill in itself sends a message to China that the U.S. is willing to involve itself in Chinese political disputes, something the nation’s government has vocalized concern about.