Trump’s signing of Hong Kong legislation puts a trade deal with China in danger

Trump signs legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong

US President Donald Trump has signed into law congressional legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong, sparking a furious response from the Chinese government. The legislation, approved unanimously by the Senate – the US’s upper house – and by all but one member of the House of Representatives – the lower house – last week, requires Hong Kong’s special trade status with the US to be reviewed annually by the State Department, and also threatens sanctions for human rights violations. Congress passed a second bill, which Trump also signed, banning the export to the Hong Kong police of crowd-control munitions, such as tear gas, pepper spray, rubber-coated bullets and stun guns. Hong Kong has been in turmoil for months after protests were sparked by a bill that would have permitted extradition to mainland China. Since then, the protests have transformed into broader anti-government demonstrations. The protests, along with Trump’s decision to sign those measures, come as China and the U.S. try to work out a trade deal. Both sides have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods since last year. This decision is something of a break from Trump’s earlier balanced position towards the Hong Kong protests, with light-worded support for the Hong Kong protesters, but also showing understanding to the Chinese government.

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