US Senate Unanimously Passes Bill to Support 'Human Rights & Democracy' in Hong Kong, Angers China

AFP

Washington: The US Senate unanimously adopted legislation Tuesday supporting "human rights and democracy" in Hong Kong and threatening to revoke its special status granted by Washington, signalling anger with Beijing about a crackdown on protests in the Chinese territory.

The lawmakers also approved a measure that would ban the sale of tear gas, rubber bullets and other equipment that has been used by security forces to suppress the protests that have rocked Hong Kong for months.

China had expressed its "strong indignation" last month when the US House of Representatives passed a similar measure.

The chambers will now seek to reconcile the two bills into a single measure to pass Congress and go to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.

"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," Republican Senator Marco Rubio said on the Senate floor.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat, Robert Menendez, added that the legislation "makes it clear that the US will stand firmly and unambiguously with the legitimate aspirations of the people of Hong Kong."