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Policy Summary
President Trump has been reluctant to address the escalating situation in Hong Kong. However, this week he spoke out about the protest movement occurring as the island city seeks its independence from mainland China.

“We discussed Hong Kong and I think great progress has been made by China in Hong Kong, and I’ve been watching and I actually told the vice premier it really has toned down a lot from the initial days of a number of months ago when I saw a lot of people, and I see far fewer now,” Trump told reporters last week.

An interim trade pact was announced on Friday between the United States and China. The announcement comes at a time when leaders from both countries are experiencing escalating political pressures at home. President Trump claims the latest US-China trade deal could be “very positive” for Hong Kong. The President stated that protests in Hong Kong protests have de-escalated.

Analysis
President Trump’s remarks defy the reality of what has been occurring overseas. To many political observers, the Hong Kong protests have done the opposite of “tone-down” and are being met with increased resistance from China. Although Hong Kong’s government has vowed to withdraw an extradition law that initially sparked the protests, the protest movement has increased in size and transformed its demonstrations into a call for democratic reform. Often protesters are seen waving U.S. flags and the flags of other democratic nations in order to garner international support, in the “hopes to pose a potential challenge to the Trump administration as it seeks to negotiate a trade deal with Beijing”. However, these efforts seemed to be in vain with regards to President Trump.

Protestors in Hong Kong are disappointed with the U.S. leader as Trump has not backed their cause and instead has focused his sights on China. His effort to ratchet down the tariff war and reach a new trade agreement with China seems to be an effort that will help both Mr. Trump and Xi Jinping score points back home. Mr. Xi is dealing with the persistent protests occurring on the streets of Hong Kong, along with drastically increasing grocery prices which could be helped with imports of American food. On the other hand, President Trump is intent to shift attention away from an impeachment inquiry into his efforts to extort political favors from the leader of Ukraine. This past week both sides agreed that a tariff war compromise was necessary.  How this will continue to affect relations between Hong Kong and the United States is still to be determined.

Engagement Resources:

  • PopularResistance.org is a resource and information clearinghouse for this movement of movements. They provide a daily stream of resistance news from the United States and around the world, and a national events calendar.
  • Human Rights Watch is calling for the immediate release of the supporters of Hong Kong protests. Donate here
  • Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong. is fighting for independence and peace in Hong Kong. Join them here: https://standwithhk.org
  • Amnesty International is fighting to protect the rights of people in Hong Kong. Write to the government here and demand they respect and protect the rights of people in Hong Kong now.

This brief was compiled by Erin Mayer. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact ErinMayer@USResistnews.org

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