United States Provokes China with Hong Kong Acts


Steven-Mark Datu

Relations between the United States and China have begun to reach an all-time low due to multiple instances of aggravation, the most prevalent issue being the Hong Kong situation. Enacted by the 116th Congress of the United States, the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Acts requires that the U.S. government impose sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials. These sanctions are only applicable to government officials in Hong Kong and China who are responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong. The main purpose of this bill is to prevent further interference from China in Hong Kong’s domestic politics and law enforcement. The bill received near-unanimous and bipartisan support in Congress. 

Currently, Hong Kong runs on a governmental system dubbed the “one country, two systems” constitutional principle. Originally, Hong Kong was a crown colony of the British Empire. While under the rule of the British Empire, the country saw changes in government and ideology, leaning more towards democracy than communism. Britain returned Hong Kong to China under the agreement that Hong Kong would remain socially and politically autonomous until 2047.

The Hong Kong Acts were heavily supported by pro-democracy activists who reside in Hong Kong. The root cause as to the reasoning behind the massive support for the bills is due in part to China’s increasing attempt to exercise more control over the territory. The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019, or simply the “Hong Kong Extradition Bill,” was a proposed bill regarding crimes committed in other countries and the relative judiciary response of Hong Kong. Under the new bill, the people of Hong Kong would have been exposed to China’s deeply flawed justice system, which fundamentally would have led to the city’s judicial independence being tampered. 

Trump stated in a White House press release, “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong… They 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 People’s Republic of China, however, saw these acts as “foreign meddling in the internal affairs of China and Hong Kong.” China condemns the United States’s actions and emphasizes that the United States must be prepared to face the consequences of its actions.

Many historians believe this to be the start of the “second Cold War.” The relationship between China and the United State has been slowly withering. The Hong Kong acts showcase the U.S.’s determination on preventing the spread of communism and China’s relentless perseverance on controlling the economic hub of Asia. With an increasing amount of detained protesters and police brutality, the Hong Kong Acts ultimately act as a step closer to ending the violence and uproar in Hong Kong.