China summoned the U.S. ambassador on Thursday to “strongly protest” President Donald Trump’s signing of bills on Hong Kong human rights.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told Ambassador Terry Branstad that the move constituted “serious interference in China’s internal affairs and a serious violation of international law.”
Le called it a “nakedly hegemonic act.” He urged the U.S. to not implement the bills in order to prevent greater damage to U.S.-China relations.
China has repeatedly accused the U.S. and other Western countries of orchestrating the mass pro-democracy demonstrations that have roiled Hong Kong for six months.
A foreign ministry statement earlier Thursday repeated heated condemnations of the laws and said China will counteract. It said all the people of Hong Kong and China oppose the move.
It’s still unclear, however, how China will respond exactly.
Trump signed the bills, which were approved last week by near unanimous consent in the House and Senate, even as he expressed some concerns about complicating the effort to work out a trade deal with China’s President Xi Jinping.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “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.”