US Hong Kong Act Direct Interference In Hong Kong Government, Far Surpassing Any Foreign Interference Here

Furious China threatens retaliation over US law on Hong Kong–“The nature of this is extremely abominable, and harbours absolutely sinister intentions.” 

Oil falls as US rights bill fuels tensions with China

Gold Prices Recover Amid Concerns Over Hong Kong, Sino-U.S. Relations

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, one of the leading advocates of the bill, said in his speech: “Today, the United States Senate sent a clear message to Hong Kongers fighting for their long-cherished freedoms: we hear you, we continue to stand with you, and we will not stand idly by as Beijing undermines your autonomy.”–Is HK Human Rights and Democracy Act a piece of scrap paper?

Why Hongkongers owe Donald Trump nothing, despite the steadfast support of Congress

 

Hong Kong’s self-styled saviour does not deserve the gratitude of the city’s citizens. Mr Trump may have signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act but his words show whose side he is really on.

American presidents engage in realpolitik, this is a given. They have to make tough decisions and sometimes have to keep schtum about horrors being committed beyond their borders. At best, when they go about this business they will, as the Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky put it, ask themselves “how will it look to the boys in the camps?”. Yet for all the sentimental thoughts in the world they nevertheless act as Washington’s head.

donald trump

Donald Trump. File photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Congress, by contrast, is where the heart is at – and boy, has this heart bled in recent months. Since millions of Hongkongers took to the streets in opposition to the proposed extradition bill with Beijing, there has been an outpouring of solidarity from senators and members of Congress alike. This support has remained steadfast as one demand expanded into five in the face of violent police suppression. All which shows that although Hong Kong can easily slip off Capitol Hill’s radar goodwill towards the city’s pro-democracy movement remains widespread.

We’ve been here before. Following the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, Congress was quick to help Hong Kong. Immigration reforms ensured that more Hongkongers would have access to an escape hatch should the city’s autonomy quickly deteriorate post-handover. More importantly, in 1992 Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell pushed through the Hong Kong Policy Act ensuring special treatment for the territory providing Beijing obeyed by its promise of One Country Two Systems. In recent years this law, and the threat to revoke it, has given Washington significant leverage over an overly zealous Chinese Communist Party.

This month, now in the lofty position of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell has once again been part of passing through Congress landmark Hong Kong legislation, despite some unnecessary delays on his part. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act increases the level of executive reporting and orders the US executive to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for suppressing basic freedoms. While the bill proposes visa bans, and asset freezes, for perpetrators it also ensures that arrested pro-democracy protestors do not face visa blocks. All in all, these are substantial measures which also send a strong message to China.

October 14 chater garden rally US human rights and democracy act

Photo: Studio Incendo.

Despite the overwhelming level of support on the Hill for the bill, Trump spent a week refusing to say whether or not he will sign it. Surprise, surprise – this arch-mercantilist was more concerned about his precious trade deal. Not that this mattered so much. Barring a presidential veto the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would have become law anyway, given that it has passed both houses of Congress.

In the end, Trump did sign, as many expected he would, but it should be noted without much public fanfare. A short accompanying statement from Trump said: “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.” Words so banal they can hardly be presented as the message of solidarity for the city’s pro-democracy movement which many Republican’s, like McConnell, have been urging him to make.

Yet the lackluster signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is totally in line with the President’s track record. Throughout the past few months, Mr Trump has remained suspiciously silent. His state department and its chief, Mike Pompeo, have talked tough. His Vice-President has blasted Beijing on a range of issues, including Hong Kong, over the past year. Yet the few remarks made by Trump # have been stupefyingly facile if not downright stomach churning.

October 14 US rally Hong Kong Human Rights Democracy Act Chater Garden

A poster of US symbol Uncle Sam with the phrase “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”

Of course silence from the White House is nothing new. As mentioned earlier Trump is not the first man to sit in the Oval Office to opted for the ‘pragmatic course’. Yet even Barrack Obama, who was keen to avoid fuelling Beijing’s foreign interference line during the Umbrella occupations, told General Secretary Xi:

[T]he United States, as a matter of foreign policy but also a matter of our values, we are going to consistently speak out on the right of people to express themselves, and encourage the elections that take place in Hong Kong are transparent and fair and reflective of the opinions of people there.

At the height of tensions this summer, as Chinese paramilitary vehicles moved along the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, Trump did little to live up to his title of Leader of the Free World, saying it is a ‘very tough situation’ ‘I just hope it gets solved’. Quite a contrast to the moral and purposeful statement of his predecessor is it not?

More gut wrenching still has been the level of  praise heaped on the “King” of China by the current Commander-in-Chief. “I’m also standing with President Xi” Trump told Fox & Friends upon the Senate’s approval of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. “He is a friend of mine. He is an incredible guy” he went on to say about the dictator responsible for the vast network of concentration camps in Xinjiang.

More outrageous still has been Trump’s attempt to present himself as Hong Kong’s saviour, after having just sucked up to the man responsible for squeezing the city. In years to come, those digging through the archives will have a better idea of whether or not Trump himself saved Hong Kong from a fourteen-minute obliteration. For now, however, I think it is safe to assume that this is just more Trump bluster. Whatever the president said to persuade Xi from rolling back the tanks I cannot imagine. Whatever it was would stand in stark contrast to the weaselly promise, reported by Politico, which he made to stay quiet about a Chinese government crackdown during a phone call with Xi in mid-June.

Trump’s lacklustre signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, along with his history of silence, interrupted with pro-Xi outbursts, tells you exactly who the president’s friends are and who he is his prepared to stand by. Those flying the Star-Spangled Banner on the streets of Hong Kong are not wrong to do so, there are many in Washington who care deeply about freedom in the city. Sadly, at this moment in time, this group of people does not include the top decision-maker.

3 thoughts on “US Hong Kong Act Direct Interference In Hong Kong Government, Far Surpassing Any Foreign Interference Here

  1. Peter, you did a phenomenal job maintaining this site. I’ve often wondered where you find the information and news events you report and finding the Time for the research. I do believe there is a slow, gradual social conscience awakening in more people but oftentimes I think not enough people to stop the worst from happening to the Human Race to the bottom..

    If you’ve been doing this for 50 years, we must be contemporaries, but don’t despair. You did the best you could and I know from experience like you, fighting the Empire is a lonely fight and like you I cannot consciously leave undone.

    You may find some solace when you have the Time to visit my Blog, http://www.rayjc.com. I sometimes think the Google algorithm hides it. Visitors almost doubled from 14,000 the 1st year to 25,000 the 2nd year. Visits dropped 2/3 the 3rd year and have been going down year after year since then even though there are many more articles.
    Google hasn’t banned me outright if anyone knows my name and what to look for.



    –[Haven’t had a chance yet to look over your site, but think on this, we should all be brainstorming with our remaining years to find ways for us all to move forward, beyond the years of planned collapse which await us all. Documenting a few old farts struggling for change, we could show where we went wrong or got it right, in our efforts to end the global police state, thinking that this might lend our children and their offspring a hand-up to a higher level of understanding. If we could somehow share lessons we have learned the hard way, so that they won’t have to learn that way, we might help them to do what we could not, leading the way to breaking our war addiction, while taking a hard look at human nature, possibly imparting a great advantage for the next generation.]

  2. A very necessary overriding project We the People must engage in.
    I did sent the comment to the White House with the appropriate positive intro.
    On this, like Trump, all I can say is “we’ll see!”–[For nearly 50 years I have poured-out my thoughts and observations about the Covert Empire to the American people and now thanks to the Internet to some select foreign audiences, where my writings and postings have sparked imaginations with faulty visions of what is to come vs visions of what could be. I won’t be able to maintain this informational blog for too much longer, I don’t believe…when I go, it will be entrusted to someone, or some group to maintain and expand it in the future. Since we cannot transmit our life memories to posterity, this is as close as I can get to leaving it behind. I would appreciate any and all help in the task of awakening the asleep.]

  3. I’ve followed this Blog for years, and it’s one out the hundreds of email, Twitter and FB notices I get every Day to read this or that. The Proverb is True, much studying is a weariness of the flesh. I can’t read them all even being retired at 75. I do read most from this Blog. Reading this one, left me feeling it was misleading Cold War Warrior Propaganda held over from the Impeachment Hearings.

    Being Canadian listening and watching, from the testimony of Mr. Clark to the Grand Finale of the undeniably Intelligent Dr.Hill, my thoughts were, ‘if there is a deep State, these witnesses play a part in it’ as current Cold War Warriors.

    It’s self-serving to blame Trump and exonerate Congress for following hypocritical, duplicitous policies calling for Human Rights in such an aggressive way to deliberately offend China, yet remains silent on the same and worse attacks on Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights in Countries in the US Orbit, where the US has DIRECT Influence, like Sawdi Arabia, Egypt and Israel.

    IDF Snipers have killed over 200 Palestinians a distance from the FENCE with Israel, old, young, male, female, and clearly marked Medics and Press, protesting Israel slowly strangling them to death, with Israeli BDS on steroids, slowly killing the inmates in the Israeli controlled Gaza Ghetto-Open Air Prison for over 2 MILLION Palestinians. That’s much more than the Uyghars detained in better living conditions.

    Obviously, Americans BLINDED by the delusional belief in US indispensable exceptionalism, cannot see partial actions like this anti-China legislation, will not create a better, more Peaceful Free World, but the Opposite.–[Glad to have you along for the long ride, Ray. Fighting the American Empire from within the Empire is a lonely task, but something I cannot consciously leave undone. My best hope is that others will join in to help me document the end of Empire…–Peter]

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