Override Threat Trump Forced to Sign Hong Kong Bill, China Will Retaliate

-edited

Trump signed legislation today threatening Hong Kong with sanctions for human rights abuses. China promises retaliation.

Strained Relations

In a move sure to further strain relations, Trump Signs Bill in Support of Hong Kong Protesters.

The legislation, S. 1838, requires annual reviews of Hong Kong’s special trade status under American law -- and sanctions against any officials deemed responsible for human rights abuses or undermining the city’s autonomy.

The House cleared the bill 417-1 on Nov. 20 after the Senate passed it without opposition, veto-proof majorities that left Trump with little choice but to acquiesce.

While many members of Congress in both parties have voiced strong support for protesters demanding more autonomy for the city, Trump has stayed largely silent, even as the demonstrations have been met by rising police violence.

“If the U.S. insists on going down this wrong path, China will take strong countermeasures,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a briefing Thursday in Beijing. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned the U.S. ambassador, Terry Branstad, on Monday to express “strong opposition” to what the country’s government considers American interference in the protests, including the legislation, according to statement.

The new U.S. law comes just as Washington and Beijing have shown signs of working toward what the White House calls a “phase-one” deal to ease the trade war. Trump would like the agreement finished in order to ease economic uncertainty for his re-election campaign in 2020, and has floated the possibility of signing the deal in a farm state as an acknowledgment of the constituency that’s borne the brunt of retaliatory Chinese tariffs.

Veto-Proof Majorities

Veto-proof majorities in both houses left Trump no choice.

Retaliation?

China has not announced what it will do.

And the bill demands sanctions if China cracks down on the protesters.

But I suspect both Trump and China will try to sweep this dispute under the rug to get a trade deal passed. But nothing here would surprise me.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (15)
No. 1-10
stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

Is this why Dow futures are down? This bill is just symbolic, there is really not much the US can do about what goes on in China.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Maybe this bill was more about both parties wanting to undermine the trade deal process. The timing is too perfect, and the votes are nearly unanimous.

Je'Ri
Je'Ri

Sure, go ahead and sanction China. It's not like they are a global threat like Iran.

Webej
Webej

This 'll persuade them chinese commies to get some good old Western values...

sabaj_49
sabaj_49

sure hope u.s. has stocked up on rare metals military industrial complex needs

Sechel
Sechel

was clear this was a bill Trump did not want to sign. He needs solidarity with Republicans in the Senate right now.

abend237-04
abend237-04

If I ran China, I'd precisely match the terms of our bill with one focused on murder rates in Chicago, Cleveland and Baltimore, along with the alcoholism and drug addiction rates on our Indian reservations and offsetting US penalties. Then, I'd spend the rest of my time convincing the people of China that China needs to open it's markets and develop a reputation for openly respecting the rule of law in trade disputes.

Sechel
Sechel

The problem is given Trump's tough position on trade, he doesn't come at this with a great deal of political capital. Add to that he needs the Chinese on North Korea and arm sales to Taiwan that China doesn't like and its hard to see how Trump can expect to get much out of China going forward. The relationship is in serious trouble

Stuki
Stuki

Good for Trump and Xi.

Trump gets to rile up his captive drones, about how he stands up to those evil human rights abusers who steal from patent trolls; which Xi gets to rile up his about how he is standing up to those interfering imperialists.

Then, with both groups of drones riled up and cheering for their tough Dear Leader, each of them get to continue robbing and harassing theirs unchallenged.

MrGrummpy
MrGrummpy

I thought Kabuki theater was Japanese. Silly me.