As Americans gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving, thousands of miles away pro-democracy protesters showed their thanks in a rally honoring the United States and President Trump.
Thousands gathered on Thanksgiving Day in Hong Kong, singing The Star Spangled Banner, waving American flags and holding pictures of Trump – even shirtless photos of the president – to express their gratitude for his signing of congressional bills in the U.S. that back their struggle against Beijing.
(Video: YouTube/Global News)
Passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” and another bill signed into law by Trump on Wednesday hold officials in Hong Kong and China accountable for human rights abuses with the threat of potential sanctions by the U.S.
The bipartisan bills also require the State Department to certify in an annual review of China’s promise of a “high degree of autonomy” for Hong Kong which has allowed its special status under U.S. law.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong,” the president said in a statement after signing the bills. “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.”
The night after the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is passed, #Hongkong people gathered and celebrated this bitter victory amid the prolonged movement. The bill is a thanksgiving present for HongKong—it encourages us to keep fighting for democracy.#DemocracyNow pic.twitter.com/8E88qewXy2
— Nathan Law 羅冠聰 😷 (@nathanlawkc) November 28, 2019
The shirtless photo of Trump’s “Rocky Balboa” pose was first playfully tweeted by the man himself on Wednesday and was not missed by the grateful people of Hong Kong.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2019
According to the State Department, 85,000 U.S. citizens lived in Hong Kong in 2018 and more than 1,300 U.S. companies operate there, including nearly every major U.S. financial firm.
The territory is a major destination for U.S. legal and accounting services and in 2018 the largest U.S. bilateral trade-in-goods surplus was with Hong Kong at $31.1 billion.
Trade between Hong Kong and the United States was estimated to be worth $67.3 billion in 2018, with the United States running a $33.8 billion surplus – its biggest with any country or territory, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
While China vowed retaliation for the signing of the bills, slamming the new law as illegal interference and summoning the U.S. ambassador over the actions on Hong Kong, a former British colony, demonstrations continued, challenging Beijing’s authority and, on Thursday, thanking Trump for taking action.
— Hiro Hamakawa (@hiro_hamakawa) November 28, 2019
— Hiro Hamakawa (@hiro_hamakawa) November 29, 2019
“The rationale for us having this rally is to show our gratitude and thank the US Congress and also president Trump for passing the bill,” Sunny Cheung, a 23-year-old student, said, according to The Guardian.“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.”
Stand with Hong Kong
5 demands, no one less pic.twitter.com/luQxFMPyDJ
— freedomtohongkong (@freedomtohongk1) November 27, 2019
U.S. lawmakers also thanked Trump for signing the bills.
With @POTUS’ signature on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, we showed America’s commitment to supporting freedom in the face of oppression. Beijing can’t silence those who seek democracy, and we will continue our longstanding support for a free Hong Kong. 🇺🇸🇭🇰
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 28, 2019
Today is a victory for the people of Hong Kong and for the protection of human rights.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for solidifying our support to those demanding freedom.
— Rep. Michael Waltz (@RepMichaelWaltz) November 28, 2019
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) November 28, 2019
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for standing up for the freedom loving people in #HongKong by signing the #HongKongHumanRightsDemocracyAct. No President in my lifetime has been tougher in addessing the China threat, both economically & militarily, than President Trump!
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) November 28, 2019
Nearly 6,000 people have been arrested since June when the protests broke out in response to proposed legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China. Protesters were grateful to Trump for signing the human rights bills which were essentially aimed at protecting them.
— cloudyren (@cloudyren1) November 28, 2019
— Annie Wu (@annieeenyc) November 28, 2019
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters and activists gathered at Hong Kong’s Edinburgh Place on Thanksgiving Day to wave US flags and show gratitude for President Trump signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. https://t.co/myk0yHXqL1
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) November 28, 2019
At Edinburgh Place, student activist Sunny Cheung said he hoped that the US’s #HongKong Human Rights and Democracy Act would create a model for other countries to do likewise.
Photo: HKFP. pic.twitter.com/h5RGm9hgvJ
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) November 28, 2019
(Carol Chan/The Epoch Times) pic.twitter.com/mPe8vxfUoT
— The Epoch Times – China Insider (@EpochTimesChina) November 28, 2019
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