The Latest: China says US bills will undermine co-operation

BEIJING — The Latest on the diplomatic fall out from U.S. bills supporting pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

China says the implementation of U.S. bills on Hong Kong human rights will undermine co-operation in important areas.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the remarks at a press briefing Thursday in response to a question about whether President Donald Trump’s signing of the legislation will impact ongoing trade talks.

Regarding unspecified countermeasures that China has threatened over the bills, Geng said: “What ought to come will come sooner or later.”

The bills mandate sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses in Hong Kong, require an annual review of Hong Kong’s favourable trade status and prohibit the export to Hong Kong police of certain nonlethal munitions.

The Chinese territory has been rocked by six months of pro-democracy demonstrations.


3:20 p.m.

Former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying says U.S. legislation supporting the protest movement in the Chinese territory is targeted at containing China’s growth.

Leung says proponents of the bills didn’t have Hong Kong’s human rights and democracy in mind. He describes the U.S. legislation as a “proxy” to curtail Beijing’s growth.

Leung was the city’s Chief Executive for five years until 2017

China has reacted furiously after President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan bills.

Leung said Thursday the “world is seeing a singular view of Hong Kong events through the lens of those who wish to destroy its parent where the only possible outcome is to completely sacrifice the child.”

He said Beijing only promised “high degree of autonomy,” not full autonomy, when the former British colony returned to its rule in 1997.


2:10 p.m.

China has summoned U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad to “strongly protest” President Donald Trump’s signing of bills on Hong Kong human rights.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told Branstad on Thursday that the move constituted “serious interference in China’s internal affairs and a serious violation of international law.”

Le called it a “nakedly hegemonic act.” He urged the U.S. to not implement the bill in order to prevent greater damage to U.S.-China relations.

China has repeatedly accused the U.S. and other Western countries of orchestrating the mass pro-democracy demonstrations that have roiled Hong Kong for six months.

The bills on Hong Kong were approved last week by near-unanimous consent in the House and Senate.

The Associated Press