US House passes Hong Kong rights bills, Trump expected to sign

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Trump has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to sign or veto bills amid delicate trade talks with Beijing.

Demonstrators in Hong Kong have taken to the streets since June angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the UK returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997.

Increasing violence in a week when abouy 1,000 protesters occupied a university campus and fought back against police with petrol bombs and other improvised weapons has raised concern that Beijing will ratchet up its response to stop the civil disobedience.

Around 100 remain hunkered down in the Polytechnic University, in the bustling district of Kowloon, after police sealed off the campus saying they will arrest all those inside.

In an editorial on Wednesday after the Senate approved the bill, China’s Global Times said the legislation “tarnished sacred terms” like human rights and democracy.

“The bill’s real title should be “Support Hong Kong Violence Act” as it has overtly taken sides with rioters who are destroying the rule of law in Hong Kong,” it continued.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio was the main sponsor of the Senate bill, which was co-sponsored by Republican Senator Jim Risch and Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Ben Cardin.

The House passed by 417 to 0 a second bill, which the Senate also approved unanimously on Tuesday, to ban the export of certain crowd-control munitions to Hong Kong police forces. That measure bans the export of items such as tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun guns.

President Trump has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to sign a bill passed by Congress, unless he opts to use his veto.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters the president intended to sign the bills into law, not veto them.

Source : aljazeera

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