The foreign affairs committees of the House and Senate of the US Congress voted to approve the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019" on Wednesday. In a quick reaction to this latest move, Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said the US bill grossly interferes in China's internal affairs and stressed that any move by the US that undermines China's interests will be strongly countered.
In June, US Senator Marco Rubio, Republican from Florida, and Chris Smith, a Republican representative of New Jersey, introduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019 in both chambers of the Congress. The bill requires the US State Department to submit an annual assessment of Hong Kong's autonomy condition and requires the US government to link the tariff status granted to Hong Kong to this annual assessment.
Over the past weeks, passage of this bill has been the focus of further intervention in Hong Kong affairs by some US politicians. However, from the perspective of international law, the US Congress's attempt to embolden the violent activists in Hong Kong through legislative action is a gross interference in China's internal affairs. The Chinese government has repeatedly stressed that this move will change nothing but exposes the sinister intentions of some US politicians to destabilize Hong Kong and use it as a tool to contain China's further development.
It is widely reported that Hong Kong's activists have continued to cause violence in the past months. The facts and evidence of their violent and illegal acts are clear-- what they have done goes far beyond the scope of free expression of opinions and poses a serious threat to public safety and seriously affects the rule of law, social order, economic livelihood and international image of Hong Kong.
Taking this into account, the US Congress's support for Hong Kong's activists is absolutely unacceptable. Their handling of the Hong Kong affairs reinforces the impression that the US is a country accustomed to double standards. Inside the US, the US government firmly upholds the rule of law and law enforcement authority as shown in the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Ferguson unrest. However, for the normal law enforcement activities of the Hong Kong police, the US authorities accuse them of “trampling” on democracy and do not hesitate to take various measures to undermine their efforts.
It should also be noted that it is in the interest of all parties, including the US, for Hong Kong to remain prosperous and stable. For the moment, there are about 80,000 Americans and over 1,300 American businesses in Hong Kong. The passage of "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019" will only embolden violent forces in Hong Kong and further destabilize Hong Kong. As a result, it will not only harm the interests of China, but also the interests of the US itself.
The Chinese government has made it clear that Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong, and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs, which brook no interference by any foreign government. Anyone with basic understanding of the China-US relations would expect that if the US challenges China's bottom line on such issue, it will surely cause significant damage to China-US relations.
The history of the relationship between China and the US has amply demonstrated that attempts by the US to change China on its own terms have never been successful. Given today's reality, only on the basis of mutual respect and equality can China and the US, two major countries of the world, find a proper way to get along.