The text adopted unanimously must now be submitted to the House of Representatives. Beijing calls for retaliatory countermeasures.
It is rare these days that Democrats and Republicans agree on a dossier. But the method adopted by Beijing against the protest movement that has shaken Hong Kong for several months seems to agree everyone. The US Senate on Tuesday unanimously adopted a text to protect human rights in Hong Kong.
The text must now be submitted to the House of Representatives, which voted its own slightly different legislation on this issue last month. Republicans and congressional Democrats will need to find common ground to submit a joint text to President Donald Trump for promulgation.
"Today, the US Senate has sent a clear message to the Hong Kong people who are fighting for the freedoms they have long been attached to: we hear you, we stand by you, and we will not stand by while Beijing undermines your autonomy "said Republican Senator Marco Rubio. The number two of the influential Foreign Affairs Committee, Democrat Bob Menendez, points out in a joint statement that "This text makes it clear that the United States will firmly and unambiguously defend the legitimate aspirations of the people of Hong Kong".
Anger of Beijing
In any case, the approach illustrates a bipartisan determination to harden the United States' position with regard to China, to which the former British colony was surrendered in 1997. A second text was also adopted unanimously by the Senate, where the Republicans are in the majority, to demand an embargo on the exports of certain anti-riot equipment to the Hong Kong security forces.
In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry denounced the US Senate vote and called for major countermeasures to guarantee China's sovereignty and security. In a statement, the spokesman of the Chinese diplomacy asks the United States to stop interfering in the internal affairs of Hong Kong and China.
The goal of the United States is none other than "To support extremists and anti-Chinese elements who are trying to wreak havoc in Hong Kong (…) in order to accomplish their sinister purpose of hindering China's development by taking advantage of the Hong Kong issue"said Geng Shuang.
Uncertainty at the White House
the spokesman of the Chinese diplomacy also calls on Washington to prevent the texts voted by the legislature from being promulgated. The White House has so far not given any indication of Donald Trump's intentions with regard to the text, dubbed the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act".
An American representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, recently said that no decision had been taken on the issue. He felt that if a text was submitted to Donald Trump for promulgation, an intense debate would likely take place between the advisers of the US President, for some worried about the impact of such a law on trade negotiations with Beijing.