Beijing has warned that Hong Kong protesters will pay a “heavy price” after President Donald Trump passed two bills backing the demonstrators.
The Human Rights and Democracy Act will mandate an annual review to check if Hong Kong has retained its autonomy and therefore still qualifies for its special status with the U.S.
A second bill bans the export of tear gas, rubber bullets and stun guns, all of which have been used by Hong Kong riot police against the protesters.
China responded with an op-ed in the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, the Global Times, which vowed punishment for anyone in Hong Kong seen to be colluding with America.
“‘One country, two systems’ is China’s independent constitutional arrangement and US intervention damages its external environment,” states the piece. “Hong Kong society should be vigilant. To maintain ‘one country, two systems,’ the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR need to work together. Anyone who colludes with external forces to undermine ‘one country, two systems’ must pay a heavy price.”
Rumors of a massive military crackdown by Chinese troops on protesters have been circulating for months, but observers say this could end in disaster for China as it would forever ruin Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub.