Reuters notes in a series of headlines on Tuesday, China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi criticized US lawmakers for supporting protestors in Hong Kong.
- CHINA'S TOP DIPLOMAT YANG JIECHI SAYS CHINA STRONGLY CONDEMNS US BILL ON HONG KONG HUMAN RIGHTS -XINHUA
- CHINA'S TOP DIPLOMAT YANG JIECHI SAYS LODGED STERN REPRESENTATIONS WITH US ON HONG KONG BILL-XINHUA
In an interview with the official Xinhua, Jiechi said, "China resolutely opposes and strongly condemns the bill, and has expressed our severe position to the American side."
China's Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang on Monday ordered US Ambassador Terry Branstad to protest US lawmakers from passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
A statement posted on the foreign ministry's website asked the US "to correct its errors and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China's internal matters."
The US House of Representatives voted 417 to 1 for the Hong Kong Bill last week, and have since sent the legislation to the White House for signing.
417-0: House unanimously passes legislation in support of Hong Kong protestors by banning the commercial export of certain crowd-control munitions to the Hong Kong Police Force. Bill passed Senate by voice vote yesterday and now heads to President Trump. pic.twitter.com/zuHUlTxa9l— Craig Caplan (@CraigCaplan) November 20, 2019
President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law, despite continuing trade talks with China.
Zeguang said if the bill was passed, it would encourage violence and be a violation of international relations.
"China expresses its strong resentment and resolute opposition," the statement read.
The bill comes at a difficult time for Trump as his administration is trying to complete the first phase of a long-awaited trade deal with China. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence said that it would be difficult for the US to sign a trade agreement with China if the demonstrations in Hong Kong are met with violence.
"The president's made it clear it'll be very hard for us to do a deal with China if there's any violence or if that matter is not treated properly and humanely," Pence said in an interview with Indianapolis-based radio host Tony Katz.
TRUMP SAYS GOING TO TAKE 'GOOD LOOK' AT HONG KONG BILL— zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 22, 2019
Another prominent Republican, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Trump to personally voice support for the protesters last week, which Trump has declined to do.
"We have to get it passed and we have to get it passed quickly," New Jersey Representative Chris Smith, the lead Republican sponsor of the House bill said. The legislation tells protesters that "Congress has their back, that we are fully supportive of democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong."
"It tells Xi Jinping that there's a price," Smith said of China's president. "There's one provision after another that says, 'we're not kidding.'"
The bill would also sanction Chinese officials deemed responsible for undermining Hong Kong's autonomy.
It remains unclear whether Trump will veto the bill, opening himself up to accusations he has been in bed with Beijing all along. Though if Trump vetoes the bill, both the House and the Senate would have enough support to override a presidential veto.