Thousands of pro-Democracy demonstrators took part Thursday in a Thanksgiving Day rally in Hong Kong, waving American flags in a show of gratitude toward the U.S. in reaction to a pair of new human rights laws signed by President Donald Trump.
What are the details?
Protests have raged in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong for nearly six months, as citizens push back against Beijing's attempts to impose greater influence over the former British colony. The U.S. Congress took action in support of the protesters this week, passing a bill that "requires the state department to justify favorable U.S. trading terms that have helped [Hong Kong] become a world financial center," The Guardian reported.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla), also includes the threat of sanctions against China for human rights violations.
"The rationale for us having this rally is to show our gratitude and thank the U.S. Congress and also President Trump for passing the bill," said 23-year-old Sunny Cheung, a member of the student group that pushed for the legislation. "We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing."
Reuters reported that the "Thanksgiving" rally took place Thursday night in the heart of Hong Kong. Activists draped themselves in American flags, singing their protest anthem and waving phone "torches."
According to the Associated Press, Beijing is "furious" over what it views as American meddling in China's ongoing conflict with Hong Kong.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng reportedly told U.S. Ambassador Terry Brandstad that the new laws passed by the U.S. constituted "serious interference in China's internal affairs and a serious violation of international law."
President Trump issued a statement saying, "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."