US President Donald Trump on Friday indicated that he might veto the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act that was passed by both chambers of the US Congress the House of Representatives and the Senate with near-unanimous support. The US treats semi-autonomous Hong Kong, which has its own legal and political systems, differently from the Chinese mainland when it comes to trade and export controls.
The US Congress on Wednesday passed the legislation that would force the Trump administration to assess whether political unrest in the vital global financial hub justify changing its unique treatment under the US law.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 that was passed would also require the Secretary of State to certify at least once a year that Hong Kong still retains enough autonomy to warrant the special US trading consideration that bolsters its status as a world financial centre.
Following the legislation in the US Congress, China has also been demanding President Trump to veto it and renewed a threat to take "strong countermeasures" if they become law.
The opposition Democrats slammed Trump for his decision on the Hong Kong Act.
Make no mistake: President Trump's words today do not reflect what the American people or the Congress think about President Xi's oppressive policies toward the people of Hong Kong, Senate Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said.
Trump claimed on Friday that were it not for him, Hong Kong "would have been obliterated in 14 minutes" by Chinese troops. In an interview with Fox News, Trump said President Xi Jinping refrained from sending in the military against pro-democracy demonstrators in the semi-autonomous city only because he asked him to.
"If it weren't for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes," Trump said.
Xi "has a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong, are not going only because I asked him. 'Please don't do that. You will be making a big mistake. It will have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal.'"