After more than a month of internal consultations, the US Senate finally passed the Hong Kong Bill of Rights and Democracy (hereinafter referred to as the “Human Rights Act”) on Tuesday (November 19). The next day, the House of Representatives also slashed, avoiding the integration process between the two houses, and passed the Senate draft directly. At this point, the Human Rights Act has completed all congressional processes, pending the signature of President Trump. The Chinese government has not unexpectedly made a strong statement from several agencies, and more so, it uses the ultimatum “don’t say nothing”. However, even if the bill goes into effect, there is still plenty of room for manoeuvre in China and the United States.

With 417 votes in favor and 1 against, the Human Rights Act finally came to Trump’s desk after a vote in the House of Representatives. According to the United States Constitution, the president can sign or pass the bill or wait for 10 days for the bill to take effect automatically; however, if Congress adjourns within 10 days, the bill will be automatically rejected. To avoid this, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose to abandon the House version of the draft on Wednesday (November 20) and vote directly on the “spicy version” of the Senate. Clearly stated before.

Trump will not go against Congress

Three days after the House passed the bill, Trump said in a telephone interview with Fox News, “We must stand with Hong Kong, but I also stand with Chinese President Xi Jinping …. I support freedom. “I support everything we want to do, but we are in the process of reaching the largest trade agreement in history.” This has led to speculation as to whether Trump will veto the Human Rights Act for fear of a trade agreement.

In fact, such a statement only reflects that Trump does not have much interest in the Bill of Rights, and may become a “wallpaper” immediately following the situation. Since taking office, Trump has been less enthusiastic about human rights issues, only speaking when he can attract votes: to cater for Latino voters in China, he supports sanctions against Venezuela and Cuba; to cater to the Jewish community, he turned to Netanya Hu is an Israeli conservative.

However, Trump has no need to “offend mainstream public opinion.” Since the outbreak of anti-revision law in Hong Kong, the Human Rights Law has achieved a high degree of cross-party consensus on Capitol Hill. Moderate Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has been rumored to prevent the bill from being “tipped,” but under pressure from fellow party bill sponsor Marco Rubio and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Jim Risch , And finally gave a green light.

On the other hand, three times before and after the bill were passed “without opposition”. The only negative vote cast by Rep. Thomas Massie was because he was a liberal will and did not support any intervention. It can be seen that the Human Rights Law, which conforms to the principle of “political correctness” of the United States, has reached a high degree of consensus between the two parties in Congress.

Diplomatic issues are not the focus of U.S. voters, but Rubio, Pelosi, and others have pushed hard for the bill, demonstrating their strong belief that “the United States must do everything possible to curb China,” or the political philosophy that “the United States needs to do its best to defend human rights.” General chose to “face face”, and Republican conservatives represented by Rubio are bound to reduce their support for Trump. Especially, the state of Florida where Rubio is located is an important “swing state”. Trump is naturally afraid to Act lightly; the Democratic Party in the opposition will certainly seize the opportunity to “package and process” this incident with Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Turkish President Erdogan, and others, and buck Trump as a “dictator” Fellow traveler “hat.

Although the Human Rights Law is likely to be passed, it gives administrative agencies discretion at the “enforcement level”. In the Senate version of the Human Rights Act, most of the passive measures that can be directly implemented are limited to the protection of peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong: if the U.S. foreign agencies are required to grant visas, they will not consider the case left by “participating in peaceful demonstrations”, including illegal assembly. Crimes of illegal assembly. As for sanctions on individual persons and review of the implementation of “spicy tricks” such as the Hong Kong Independent Customs Area, they will be made by the administrative department after referring to the State Council report, and will not take effect immediately after Trump’s signature. The sanctions against “left media” reporters are only written in the “Sense of congress” at the end of the bill and are not binding.

Beijing Peer-to-Peer Countermeasure Limits “Oral”

When the Senate passed the bill in the early morning of Hong Kong last Wednesday (November 20), the SAR government attacked the bill as “necessary and without justification, harming the interests of both parties.” Beijing also has the National People’s Congress, the CPPCC Foreign Affairs Department, and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. , The China United Nations Affairs Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Hong Kong Public Office respectively issued strong wording statements condemning the United States for “extreme hypocrisy on human rights and democracy, naked double standards, and the sinister intentions of anti-China chaos.” In CCTV’s “News Broadcast” that night, the relevant statement was broadcast in its entirety, taking up more than a third of the 30-minute program. On the same day, Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Chaoxu also called on William Klein, the US interim agent in China, stating that “China will take effective measures to fight back resolutely, and all consequences must be fully borne by the US.”

The warnings jointly issued by various departments are quite rare in China’s diplomatic practice. The last time was in September 2012 when Japan “nationalized” the Diaoyu Islands. Another thing worth noting is that at the end of the statement of the Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong, it was mentioned that “the U.S. side is urged to preempt the cliff, otherwise it will eat its own evil consequences, not to be forgiven”; the People’s Daily also stated on the social platform that “Be “Predicting the Unforeseen” is the title, and the seven departments’ speeches are compiled and released. Because “not to be foreseeable” has the ultimate ultimatum in China’s diplomatic practice, it became a pre-war signal during the China-Vietnamese wars in the 1960s and 1970s. The publication of the editorial form also reflects Beijing’s extreme dissatisfaction with the passage of the Human Rights Law.

However, Beijing’s position does not mean that it will be tough against it in a short time. Different from the “tariff weapons” used in trade wars, they are available in all countries and can be levied quickly. Beijing has always adopted the principle of “non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs”. In the face of a “interference in China’s internal affairs” law, it is difficult to find the target of revenge. .

On the other hand, Beijing is well aware of the distance between “political correctness” in the United States Congress and “pragmatic style” of the executive branch. Take the Taiwan issue as an example. Although the Congress has passed a number of “pro-Taiwan bills”, the administrative department’s policy has not changed much. Today, the US bill that is “politically correct” and harshly worded has no substantial impact on its own. China’s response with “political correctness” and strict wording is equivalent countermeasures. When US government agencies use this bill as the legal basis to launch practical measures such as freezing assets, restricting visas, and revoking Hong Kong’s “independent customs zone” treatment, Beijing will fight back in a more practical way.

In the face of tensions, many people worry whether the ongoing trade talks between China and the United States will be hindered. US Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday that “the president has made it clear that if any violence occurs in Hong Kong or this issue is not properly and humanely treated, it will be difficult for the United States to reach any agreement with China.”

However, Beijing ’s statement on Thursday (November 21) clearly responded to outside speculation. Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular press conference that “China and the US economic and trade teams will maintain close communication …” China is unwilling to tie the Human Rights Law to economic and trade negotiations. On the same day, Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was also very interesting. When asked whether the “Human Rights Law” would affect the process of China-US economic and trade negotiations, Geng Shuang fired a firearm and warned, “We are telling the United States to recognize the situation, and to pretend to be a cliff. The case must not be signed into law “, followed by the words” We hope that the United States can work with China to find a solution to the (trade dispute) issue on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit “. It can be seen that Beijing still maintains a stance on matters when dealing with relations with the United States, and it is still and always has been Beijing’s thinking to separate the US-related Hong Kong issue from the China-US negotiations.

China-U.S. Relations are at “dangerous balance”

After Trump came to power, from the earliest tariff war, to a technology war against ZTE and Huawei, from the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, to the current Human Rights Law storm, China and the United States have fought many times, demanding each other’s “demand I also learned a lot. Maybe Trump really gathered a group of staff who “want to resolve the China-U.S. Trade deficit” or “intended to suppress China as much as possible”, but Trump did not seem to have a “central idea” or to reach an agreement for it To provide boastful capital or to support Hong Kong and gain the support of conservative voters, how to use all available achievements, resources and tools to win the 2020 presidential election is his core demand.

Since Trump imposed tariffs on China, the actual impact of the trade war on China’s economy has been limited, and the psychological impact on Chinese nationals has gradually dissipated. It is even less necessary for Beijing to make a quick decision with Washington.

Some people have suggested that Beijing should wait until the 2020 election before “waiting to see its changes.” However, during the negotiation process, China has successively made concessions in purchasing agricultural products and reaching agreements in stages. This all proves that Beijing appears to be a “drunk man” in trade negotiations. “I do n’t care about wine”, not to insist on how much specific benefits are obtained in the negotiations, in exchange for how much tariffs are withdrawn by the two countries, but to hope that the signing of the agreement will build consensus and prevent the United States from further enlarging China hawks, thereby maintaining China-US relations and China The stability of the external environment has created good conditions for sustained economic development and reform in the country.

The similarities between the appeals of China and the United States allow the two countries to maintain close communication despite the appearance of conflicts. Of course, such a situation does not mean that Beijing will “succumb to the end” when dealing with relations with the United States. In trade negotiations, Beijing cannot accept the degrading supervision mechanism, nor can it abandon its industrial and scientific and technological development plans. Similarly, Beijing will never accept the United States as the bargaining chip for the Hong Kong issue. Politics is always full of accidents. If the hawks on either side continue to grow, China-US relations may be unbalanced. This should also be a wake-up call in the politicians of the two countries.

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