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"Any form of interference from foreign congresses is extremely inappropriate," Lam warned.
Hong Kong Chief Carrie Lam condemned Tuesday the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act”, which is being proposed in the U.S. Congress by Senator Marco Rubio, and is expected to pass with bipartisan support. The bill would mandate the U.S. to take economic measures against Hong Kong.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam hit back at the proposed sanctions bill saying "Any form of interference from foreign entities is extremely inappropriate."
China also rejected the law, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang stating that the U.S. must “immediately stop pushing Hong Kong-related legislation, cease interfering in Hong Kong affairs at once. The future of Hong Kong must and can only be determined by all Chinese people, including our Hong Kong compatriots... Any attempt to interfere in China's internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs, is doomed to fail."
The bill is thought to be one of the top priorities as U.S. congresspeople return from summer recess this week. It is expected to be passed as the Democrats’ Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has spoken in favor of the legislation, and has expressed his desire for a vote to take place as soon as possible.
The bill would place sanctions on individuals in the Hong Kong government. The law also includes economic sanctions. Currently, Hong Kong is exempt from U.S. tariffs on China, as well as other travel and tech restrictions. The bill would end those exemptions and subject Hong Kong to the same economic pressures that the U.S. currently exerts against mainland China.
Carrie Lam lamented that many opposition protesters have called on the U.S. Congress to pass the legislation, despite the damage it would do to Hong Kong’s economy and residents.
Nevertheless, Lam pledged to continue efforts at negotiating a peaceful end to the protests. She pointed out that some opposition groups had signed up to her platform for dialogue, adding “In order to go forward and mend the rift in the society, more dialogues are needed. We are gearing up to go into the community to have the dialogue directly with people."
Washington already funds many of the leading opposition groups, whose leaders have held meetings with Mike Pompeo and Marco Rubio. Though, if the bill is passed in Congress, it would represent a significant escalation of U.S. interference in Hong Kong.