Updated Nov 19, 2019

China: Hong Kong courts don't have the power to rule on mask ban

Masked protesters march in Hong Kong, Nov. 5. Photo: Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

China condemned on Tuesday the Hong Kong High Court's decision ruling the city's mask ban "unconstitutional," saying only the Chinese legislature has the power to rule on the constitutionality of legislation, Channel News Asia reports.

No other authority has the right to make judgments and decisions."
— Chinese government statement translated by Channel News Asia

Why it matters: Protesters reacted with outrage when Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam passed the ban last month in an emergency law giving Hong Kong officials more powers. Protesters have constantly defied the ban, which they said was designed to suppress them.

  • China's criticism of the High Court ruling before Hong Kong's government has even lodged an appeal risks worsening the situation in the semiautonomous territory, where protesters remain concerned that Chinese central authorities could suppress the high degree of autonomy they've enjoyed since the former British colony was returned to the country in 1997.

Go deeper: Protests paralyze Hong Kong: What you need to know

Editor's note: This article has been updated with China's reaction to the court ruling.

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Finger-pointing over misjudging Hong Kong

Anti-government protesters shine phone lights at police as they chant slogans in Hong Kong yesterday. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Top Chinese leaders, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, "have been managing their response" to the violent protests in Hong Kong from a villa in Shenzhen instead of using the formal bureaucratic system that's been in place for two decades, Reuters scoops.

Why it matters: Under normal circumstances, Beijing and Hong Kong communicate through the Liaison Office, "housed in a Hong Kong skyscraper stacked with surveillance cameras, ringed by steel barricades," Reuters writes. This change shows the central government isn't happy with how the Liaison Office has been handling the protests.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019

House passes bill expressing support for Hong Kong protestors, rebuking China

Pro-democracy protesters gather for a rally in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images.

The House voted 417-1 on Wednesday evening in favor of the Senate's unanimously-passed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, sending the bill to President Trump's desk. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole "no" vote.

The big picture: The bill reaffirms the U.S.' commitment to supporting democracy and human rights in Hong Kong as it relates to city's autonomy. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong, and could set up a confrontation between the U.S. and China in the midst of Trump's high-stakes trade war. The White House has not yet commented on whether Trump intends to sign the bill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019

Senate unanimously passes bill reaffirming support for Hong Kong autonomy

Thousands of people hold an unsanctioned march through the streets of Hong Kong. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images

The Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday to reaffirm American support for the city's autonomy.

The big picture: The bill asserts the U.S.' commitment to "democracy, human rights, and the rule of law" as it relates to Hong Kong's autonomy, according to bill sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio's description. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019