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US Congress Supports Hong Kong Protesters, Passes Pro-Democracy Bill

Hong Kong/China
Hong Kong/China

The US House of Representatives has passed the bill that pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong believe would defend their freedom and basic human rights. Although it still has to gain approval from the Senate before becoming law, protesters consider this a big step forward in their fight for democracy.

It's brutal police tactics that have led to demands that urgent action is taken by the US Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights Act.

At a Monday night rally in Hong Kong, more than 100,000 protesters shouted: "Pass the Act!" Now that the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act has been passed, they are rallying for the US Senate to approve it to become a law.

One protester said, "We hope the rally will show the United States our stand for freedom."

If approved, the United States would impose penalties on Hong Kong and China officials who infringe upon basic freedoms in the city including freezing their US-based assets and being denied entry in the US.

China condemns the bill and threatens to retaliate if the Hong Kong bill becomes a law. The Hong Kong government released a statement expressing its regret over the US bill and warned foreign governments not to interfere in the territory's internal affairs. 

But pro-democracy activist, Joshua Wong, argues that the "one country 2 system" agreement between Hong Kong and Mainland China is a treaty registered with the United Nations; thus, subjecting it to the scrutiny of the global community. 

Wong said, "One country 2 system comes from the legal binding international treaty registered in the United Nations as the Handover with the British signed declaration. When 1 country 2 system eroded to 1 country 1 1/2 system, of course, members of the United Nations must have a say on Hong Kong autonomy."

Violence has escalated in recent weeks. Widespread vandalism and destruction of properties by protesters, beatings and live-round shootings by the police have led to an emergency ban of face masks which triggered more anger among the protesters. 

It's been more than 100 days since the protests began and the situation is getting worse and is becoming very dangerous. The question everybody is asking is how all this will end.

Will the Hong Kong government be able to hold a peaceful and fair district council election in November, allowing opposition candidates like Joshua Wong to run?

Wong whose candidacy was disqualified by China in the past remains skeptical. He says, "Let's see will Beijing disqualify me to run for office. Always Beijing will say they are willing to listen to the voice of the young generation. But if our voice is not allowed to be heard in the institution, it just justified how and why we are back to the streets."

Alvin Chan is a Hong Kong reporter who has covered almost all the protests. He believes that in the midst of the social unrest in his city, God is still in control. 

Chan says it breaks his heart to see the young people being hurt in the protests. "I can't change the environment. I can just write about it, it broke my heart. 

"I believe God is transforming Hong Kong. The shaking is from the bottom to top. We don't need to fear government power in the land because the greater power is God's love. Keep faith, keep praying. I believe God reserves something good in the future for us."

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