President Trump had previously been non-committal about
whether he would sign the bill, saying he was “with” Hong Kong but
also that President Xi was “an incredible guy”.
However, the bill had widespread congressional support, which meant that
even if he vetoed it, lawmakers could potentially have voted to overturn his
President Trump also signed a second bill, which bans the export of
crowd-control munitions to the police in Hong Kong – including tear gas, rubber
bullets and stun guns.
He said: “[The bills] are being
enacted in the hope that leaders and representatives of China and Hong Kong
will be able to amicably settle their differences, leading to long-term peace
and prosperity for all.”
The bill was introduced in June in the early stages of the protests in Hong
Kong, and was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives last
It says: “Hong Kong is part of
China but has a largely separate legal and economic system.
“The [annual review] shall assess
whether China has eroded Hong Kong’s civil liberties and rule of law as
protected by Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”
Among other things, Hong Kong’s special trading status means it is not
affected by US sanctions or tariffs placed on the mainland.
The bill also says the US should allow Hong Kong residents to obtain US
visas, even if they have been arrested for being part of non-violent protests.
Hong Kong’s protests started in June against a proposed law to allow
extradition to mainland China but it has since transformed into a larger
The protests have also seen increasingly violent clashes, with police being
attacked, and officers firing live bullets.
The last week elections saw a landslide victory for the pro-democracy movement, with 17 of the 18 councils now controlled by pro-democracy councilors.
Pro-democracy campaigners hope they
will be able to increase their representation on the council, which
traditionally has some influence in choosing the city’s chief executive.
Pro-Beijing candidates are urging
voters to support them in order to express frustration at the upheaval caused
by continuous clashes between protesters and police.
Polls opened at 07:30 local time on
According to government figures, by
16.30 more than 2.1 million people had voted (52.14% of all registered voters) compared
to 754,705 (24.18%) within the same timescale in the last such elections in
In total, 1.467 million people voted
in the last poll. Only 3.1 million people were registered to vote in that
More than 1,000 candidates are running for 452 district council seats which,
for the first time, are all being contested. A further 27 seats are allocated
to representatives of rural districts.
Currently, pro-Beijing parties hold the majority of these seats.
Police were seen outside some polling stations and on the streets but
correspondents said they kept a low profile.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said after voting: “Facing the extremely challenging situation, I am pleased to
say… we have a relatively calm and peaceful environment for (the) election
Counting will start immediately after polls close at 22:30. Results are expected to start coming in before midnight.
The local councilor, Andrew Chiu Ka-yin, reportedly was attempting to prevent
the attacker leaving the scene when the man bit off a section of his ear.
Witnesses said the attacker was badly beaten by passersby who intervened,
before police arrested the man.
The injured woman told the South China Morning Post that the attacker
drew a knife after arguing with her sister and her husband, who were also
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, the attacker was a
Mandarin-speaking pro-Beijing supporter.
Hong Kong has experienced five
months of sometimes violent demonstrations by pro-democracy activists, who
first took to the streets to protest against a bill that would have allowed
extradition to mainland China, but evolved into a broader revolt against the
way Hong Kong is administered by Beijing.
The pro-democracy protests continued
this weekend, days after a high-profile activist, Joshua Wong, was banned from
standing in local elections.
Police fired tear gas into crowds of demonstrators in the eastern suburb of Taikoo Shing, home to the Cityplaza where the knife attack occurred.
Hong Kong has now seen 13 successive
weeks of demonstrations.
The movement grew out of rallies
against a controversial extradition bill – now suspended – which would have
allowed criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
It has since become a broader
pro-democracy movement in which clashes have grown more violent.
During protests, crowds gathered by Prince Edward and Mong Kok stations in
Hong Kong’s Kowloon neighborhood.
Police said in a tweet they had responded at both sites after reports of
“radical protesters” assaulting citizens and damaging property.
In a statement, Hong Kong’s government also said some protesters had
“committed arson and “hurled miscellaneous objects and iron
railings” on to railway tracks, “completely disregarding the safety
of other passengers”.
Forty people were subsequently arrested for unlawful assembly, criminal
damage and the assault of police officers, police spokesperson Yolanda Yu told
However, several people complained of excessive force used by the
MTR, which operates the city’s subway line, told local media that three
stations – Prince Edward, Mongkok and Kowloon Bay – had been closed as a result
of the incident.
Protesters took to the streets in the Wan Chai district, many joining a Christian march, while others demonstrated in the Causeway Bay shopping district in the pouring rain. Many carried umbrellas and wore face masks.
Demonstrators took to the streets in the Wan Chai district, many joining a
Christian march, while others protested in the Causeway Bay shopping district
in the pouring rain. Many carried umbrellas and wore face masks.
On the 13th weekend of protests, demonstrators – chanting “stand with
Hong Kong” and “fight for freedom” – gathered outside government
offices, the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army and the
city’s parliament, known as the Legislative Council.
In the Admiralty district, some demonstrators threw fire bombs towards
officers. Earlier, protesters marched near the official residence of embattled
leader Carrie Lam, who is the focal point of much of the anger.
Police had erected barriers around key buildings and road blocks, and fired
tear gas and jets of blue-dyed water from the water cannon. The colored liquid
is traditionally used to make it easier for police to identify protesters.
The recent demonstrations have been characterized as leaderless.
On August 30, police had appealed to members of the public to cut ties with
“violent protesters” and had warned people not to take part in the
Police made a number of arrests on August 31.
During a 24-hour police crackdown, at least three activists – including
prominent 23-year-old campaigner Joshua Wong – and three lawmakers were
Joshua Wong, who first rose to prominence as the poster boy of a protest
movement that swept Hong Kong in 2014, was released on bail after being charged
over the protests which have rocked the territory since June.
Hong Kong is part of China, but enjoys “special freedoms”. Those
are set to expire in 2047, and many in Hong Kong do not want to become
“another Chinese city”.
Beijing has repeatedly condemned the protesters and described their actions
as “close to terrorism”. The protests have frequently escalated into
violence between police and activists, with injuries on both sides.
Activists are increasingly concerned that China might use military force to
On August 29, Beijing moved a new batch of troops into Hong Kong, a move Chinese state media described as a routine annual rotation.
Protesters initially gathered in Mong Kok, a Hong Kong district where
violent clashes took place during pro-democracy protests in 2014.
A group of demonstrators briefly blocked access to the Cross Harbour Tunnel,
causing traffic chaos, while others set up make-shift barricades on shopping
As the demonstrations dragged into the night, protesters gathered outside
the police station in Tsim Sha Tsui district. Officers then fired tear gas at
The South China Morning Post published
a police statement saying the “radical” group had set fires nearby and
had thrown bricks into the building.
The march comes after a group of civil servants – ordered to be politically
neutral – joined demonstrations in their thousands on August 2.
The rally followed the publication of an anonymous letter on Facebook
complaining about “extreme oppression” and listing five key demands –
the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill; waiving charges against those
arrested; an end to descriptions of protests as “rioting”; an
independent inquiry into the unrest; and resuming political reforms.
Supporters of Hong Kong’s police force also gathered earlier for a rally in Victoria
Some unions and organizations have reportedly already agreed to take part in the strike planned for August 5. There are also further demonstrations planned for August 4.
Tear gas has been fired by Hong Kong riot police at an unauthorized protest held by tens of thousands of people to condemn an attack by armed masked men last week.
As a small group of protesters refused to disperse in the northern district
of Yuen Long, police fired rubber bullets.
The protest took place where pro-democracy protesters had been attacked by
suspected triad gang members.
Police have been accused of turning a blind eye and colluding with the
attackers, claims they deny.
There were seven weeks of anti-government and pro-democracy protests in Hong
Kong sparked by a controversial bill that would have enabled extraditions to
The government has since halted the legislation but protesters have demanded
its complete withdrawal, as well as an inquiry into police violence, democratic
reform, and that Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam resign.
The July 27 rally had been banned by
the police, a highly unusual move in the territory, where protests are usually
Police say they refused permission
because they feared violent clashes between protesters and residents.
The march was planned as a response
to last Sunday’s attack, in which about 100 men descended on Yuen Long’s metro
station, beating protesters – as well as passersby and journalists – with
wooden and metal sticks.
The attack left 45 people injured
and was widely blamed on triad gang members. They appeared to target those
wearing black, the color people had been told to wear for the protest.
Triads are known to be active in Yuen Long – located in a rural northern
district in Hong Kong, near mainland China – and many local villagers have also
expressed opposition to the pro-democracy protests.
Tens of thousands defied the police ban and approached Yuen Long on July 27,
marching down some of the main roads.
Police observed and filmed the start of the protest, and riot police could
be seen on standby.
They said some protesters were holding iron poles and shields, and
“even removing fences from roads”.
Some protesters also surrounded and vandalized a police vehicle,
“causing danger to the life of the police officers on board”, they
Shortly after 17:00 local time, police began firing several rounds of tear
gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
The protesters – most wearing masks and hard hats – threw projectiles and swore
at police – but also parted to allow ambulances to go through.
Later in the evening, in an attempt to clear several hundred demonstrators,
police fired rubber bullets, injuring at least nine people, according to the
AFP news agency.
Protesters have been demanding an independent inquiry into police violence,
saying police used excessive force in several anti-extradition bill and
Demonstrators and pro-democracy legislators have alleged that the
authorities – including the police and pro-government legislators – had advance
knowledge of the attack.
Police say suggestions that they colluded with criminal gangs were a
“smear”, and that 12 people have so far been arrested, including nine
men with links to triads.
There have also been growing tensions between protesters and pro-Beijing
Earlier this week, pro-Beijing legislator Junius Ho’s office was ransacked,
and his parents’ graves were vandalized.
Junius Ho had come under criticism after video footage showed him shaking
hands with white-shirted men on July 27 shortly before the attacks.
He said he did not know about the attack, but defended the men, saying they were simply “defending their home and people”.
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