Public will support Hong Kong despite President’s priorities

Senate passes resolution, supports protests

Editorial Board

President Trump’s insistence on building a trade deal with China came to a potential roadblock in a resolution passed by the Senate on Nov. 19. The resolution, aptly named the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, bans all sales of non-lethal crowd control devices and weapons — such as tear gas — to Hong Kong authorities. Further, the bill may jeopardize Trump’s plan in developing a strong trade network with the country. Nonetheless, this bill will test the U.S.’s leadership: Will they value economics over human rights? 


This year’s Hong Kong protests have threatened to derail Trump’s hopes. Pro-democracy demonstrators, seeking to limit China’s influence in local politics and retain autonomy, have rioted for months against authorities — both to the dismay of local pro-China politicians and Beijing. 


Trump, through most of his presidency, has regarded China as both an economic threat to America’s interests as well as one of the U.S.’s premier business partners. Since the tech boom of 2000, China’s GDP shot from $1.2 trillion to $12.24 trillion in 2017; at the same time, the U.S.’s GDP reached $19.39 trillion (World Bank). Within the past few decades, China has started to become a more looming figure in international commerce and the Trump administration has jumped on the opportunity to develop a trade-deal with the communist superpower, both diplomatically and economically. 


And with the passing of the Senate’s resolution, it seems as though many people in the United States cannot look past the People’s Republic’s desire to absorb Hong Kong. Viral attention of the situation in Hong Kong has brought human rights abuses to the world’s attention. The extradition law that sparked Hong Kong’s protests, excessive use of force by police, the banning of LGBTQ+ literature and the dissolution of political leadership at the hands of Beijing are examples of these abuses. 


It is uncertain whether Trump will approve the bill to sanction China. Nonetheless, the decision is one of many tests that will determine whether the U.S., an economic superpower, may value human rights and real efforts at democracy over capital. Hong Kong critically requires voices to air their desperation for autonomy. 


Power structures that serve to reinforce unjust powers, like that of China over Hong Kong, should be questioned, and the situation in Hong Kong represents yet another fight for human rights and sovereignty abroad. The Falcon encourages the actions of the United States Senate in supporting the Hong Kong protests.