A pro-democracy protester sticks a poster featuring President Trump on a pillar in the Hong Kong financial district today. Photo: Kin Cheung/AP
President Trump thrilled China hardliners in the U.S. yesterday by signing two bills backing human rights in Hong Kong, provoking a threat of "firm counter measures" from Beijing.
Why it matters: Trump signed the bills knowing they would complicate trade negotiations. That suggests that he thinks he has a winning hand, based partly on weak economic data from China and stronger signs in the U.S.
- The bills had been approved nearly unanimously in the House and Senate, but it was unclear if Trump would sign them.
- The expected signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) helps provide political cover.
Between the lines: Trump chose not to take the easy way and let the legislation go into law by default on Tuesday.
- China had threatened retaliation for weeks, so this was seen as thumbing his nose at Xi.
The latest: China reacted furiously, summoning the U.S. ambassador to protest, and warning the move would undermine cooperation with Washington. (AP)
- Protesters in Hong Kong staged a "Thanksgiving" rally, "with thousands of people, some draped in U.S. flags, gathering in the heart of the city." (Reuters)