Asian stocks fall after Trump signs bills backing Hong Kong protestors

A team including Poly U management security guards councillors and the Hong Kong Red Cross walk through a canteen kitchen in search of any remaining protesters hiding at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in the Hung Hom district of Hong Kong on Novem

Hong Kongers Demand Freedom for Protesters Trapped in Polytechnic University 5ANTHONY WALLACE AFP via Getty John Hayward26 Nov 2019

USA policy treats Hong Kong separately from the rest of China in trade, investment, commerce, and immigration-based on Beijing's pledge to give the territory a high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" model.

Trump had remained non-committal on whether he would sign it, suggesting it may hurt negotiations on the "phase one" trade deal with China.

On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and his USA counterparts, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, spoke on the phone to discuss trade negotiations, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

But China has strongly condemned the bills as meddling and interference in its internal affairs.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said the passage of HKHRDA by the U.S. Congress and Trump's willingness to sign it demonstrate widespread U.S. support for democracy in Hong Kong.

"Look, we have to stand with Hong Kong", Trump said in an interview on "Fox & Friends".

Pro-democracy demonstrators take part in a Thanksgiving Day rally, November 28, 2019, in Hong Kong.

The police said they found some 3,800 gas bombs, along with other gas canisters, corrosive chemicals and flammable liquids from within the campus, also 27 bows and 200 arrows and an air pistol, while 44 cars were damaged.

How did the bill come about?

Hong Kong is treated as fully autonomous for trade and economic matters, meaning that the former British colony is exempt from Trump's tariffs against China.

Hong Kong Watch, whose Canadian representatives include trustee Aileen Calverley, is also calling on Canada's House of Commons and Senate to conduct hearings on the protests in Hong Kong.

However, the bills have received support from Congress, meaning that even if President Trump decided not to sign it, the government could have voted to put it through anyway.

Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law Wednesday in the United States.

"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", he said in a statement.

What does the law say?

"The most needed prospect of certainty for business will vanish", said Shi, who expects China to adopt a tougher stance on trade and other issues. She is accompanied by members of Hong Kong Watch, a United Kingdom -based civil liberty watchdog.

China scholar Adam Ni said the Chinese perception is that the U.S. is leveraging the Hong Kong unrest as part of its larger effort to contain the rising superpower.

Some universities in Hong Kong have become battlefields amid the recent social unrest, causing worries over the academic development in Hong Kong in the long run, especially when local universities saw declines in global league tables.

Protests started in June, when huge numbers of people took to the streets to protest against a proposed bill that would have allowed the deportation of Hong Kong criminals to China.

The protests have also seen increasingly violent clashes, with police being attacked, and officers firing live bullets.

Chinese soft power is on a bad streak with last Sunday's local elections in Hong Kong turning into a rout.

On Nov. 24, the pro-democracy camp scored a resounding victory against the pro-Beijing camp, winning over 380 seats out of 452 district council seats.

Adding to the flurry of statements were those from the Office of the Commissioner of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, with the latter labelling the USA as "the most culpable black hand to create havoc in Hong Kong".

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