US Congress passed a second bill –– which President Trump also signed –– banning the export to the Hong Kong police of crowd-control munitions, such as teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.
China reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s signing of two bills on Hong Kong human rights and said the US will bear the unspecified consequences.
China's foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador on Thursday, urging Washington to refrain from applying a bill supporting Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement to "avoid further damage" to relations.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng lodged a "strong protest" with Ambassador Terry Branstad after President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law.
A foreign ministry statement repeated heated condemnations of the laws and said China will counteract.
"The nature of this is extremely abominable, and harbours absolutely sinister intentions," the foreign ministry said.
It’s still unclear, however, how China will respond exactly.
Trump signed the bills, which were approved by near-unanimous consent in the House and Senate, even as he expressed some concerns about complicating the effort to work out a trade deal with China’s President Xi Jinping.
The new legislation requires the State Department to certify, at least annually, that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to justify favourable US trading terms that have helped it maintain its position as a world financial centre. It 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 teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.
"I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all," Trump said in a statement.
Trump had been vague about whether he would sign or veto the legislation, while trying to strike a deal with China on trade that he has made a top priority ahead of his 2020 re-election bid.
In Hong Kong, the government expressed "extreme regret" after Trump signed the legislation saying the bill will send the wrong signal to demonstrators.
"The two acts are obviously interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs," the government said in a statement, warning the move would "send the wrong message to the protesters."