The pro-Beijing camp has expressed “deep regret” over the passage of two acts and a resolution by the US House of Representatives this week in relation to Hong Kong’s protests.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act will punish officials deemed to be harming human rights and freedom in Hong Kong, whilst the Protect Hong Kong Act will ban sales of crowd-control weapons to the Hong Kong police. US representatives also passed a resolution calling on the Hong Kong government to address protesters’ demands. The Acts will now move to a similar vote in the Senate.

Regina Ip
Regina Ip. Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

“We strongly object to the House of Representatives’ attempt to interfere mostly in the domestic affairs of Hong Kong and to promote the political interests of their proxies in Hong Kong,” lawmaker Regina Ip said on behalf of the camp.

She said hearings in Washington prior to the votes only heard testimonies from a handful of people, but not the Hong Kong community at large.

“The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019 and the other legislation and resolution were passed in biased and unfair conditions. Any legislation enacted in such conditions are bound to result in lose-lose outcomes for all the parties concerned,” she said.

Pro-Beijing camp
Pro-Beijing camp. Photo: RTHK Screenshot.

Ip said the US and Hong Kong have long-standing trade and law enforcement relations, and the passage of the acts and resolution would damage Sino-American relations.

“US interests are bound to be hurt adversely as a result,” she said.

Ip, in particular, criticised the Civic Party which conducted a tour last month to the US where they lobbied for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to be passed: “If this act passes, and the US government cancels Hong Kong’s separate treatment when compared to mainland China, it would very harmful to the international perception of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle. I am very angry about a Hong Kong political party urging the US Congress to harm Hong Kong,” she said.

Martin Liao, convener of the pro-Beijing camp, said the camp’s lawmakers were willing to testify at the US Congress if it invited them.

Joshua Wong
Joshua Wong in the US. Photo: Joshua Wong, via Facebook.

The Hong Kong government expressed regret over the passage of the acts and resolution by the House on Tuesday.

A government spokesman said the “One Country, Two Systems” principle had been fully and successfully implemented in Hong Kong: “Human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation, in addition to the Basic Law,” a statement said.

“[F]oreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR.”

Tuen Mun September 21 protest rally tear gas police
Tuen Mun. Photo: Kaiser/United Social Press.

The statement said some protests have become violent, and the police have been exercising restraint in using force.

In response to the proposed ban on US crowd-control weapons such as tear gas and rubber bullets, the government said: “Regarding strategic trade control, Hong Kong is a separate customs territory under the Basic Law. We have been implementing comprehensive control on import, export and re-export of strategic commodities in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong and international control lists, and carrying out rigorous enforcement.”

“We will continue to maintain close co-operation with the US and other trading partners on the matter.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.