China ready to 'fight back' over US Hong Kong Bill

China ready to 'fight back' over US Hong Kong Bill

A protester throws an umbrella onto a fire
A protester throws an umbrella into a fire by the barricaded main entrance of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hung Hom district, Nov 18, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

BEIJING: China resolutely opposes US lawmakers' passing of a Hong Kong human rights Bill and will never allow anyone to destroy Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Thursday (Nov 21).

The Bill "indulges violent criminals" and aims to "muddle or even destroy Hong Kong", Wang said.

China's foreign ministry said in a statement that Wang, China's state councillor, told former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen during a meeting in Beijing that China will never allow anyone to undermine its "one country two systems" principle. He added that the legislation was a "naked interference in China's internal affairs".

"If the US side is determined to act alone, China will take effective measures to resolutely fight back," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing, without giving more details about what action Beijing might take.

READ: US Bills on Hong Kong will ‘harm relations and common interests’: Hong Kong government

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed the House of Representatives by 417 to 1 on Wednesday, one day after the Senate unanimously passed the measure.

The Bill requires the US president to annually review the favourable trade status that Washington grants to Hong Kong, and threatens to revoke it if the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's freedoms are quashed.

The White House has not threatened to veto the measure and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it, according to a source familiar with the matter.

"ERRONEOUS SIGNAL"

The Hong Kong government expressed strong opposition to the passage of the Bill through the Senate and House of Representative. 

It said in a statement that the Bill would "interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong" and sends "an erroneous signal to the violent protesters, which would not be conducive to de-escalating the situation in Hong Kong".

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Reuters/ga

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