Since June, Hong Kong has been engulfed by mass protests, initially triggered by a controversial extradition bill, which was eventually shelved due to growing public display of anger.
The protests, however, have continued and taken on an increasingly violent form, with masked individuals vandalizing public and private property and attacking security forces and government buildings, Presstv Reported.
The anti-government demonstrators now want complete separation from mainland China.
Beijing has time and again named the United States and Britain, the former colonial power in Hong Kong, as the main provocateurs of the protesters through statements of support.
On Tuesday, the US Senate passed a bill titled the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, compelling Washington to support anti-government protesters in Hong Kong and to impose sanctions on Chinese officials allegedly responsible for what the bill called human rights abuses in the territory.
A day later, the US House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the bill by a 417-1 vote and sent it to the White House, awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature.
Chinese authorities had warned Congress against approving the legislation.
With overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle, the bill, if signed by Trump, will potentially complicate the administration’s talks with Beijing to put an end to a persisting trade war.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lambasted the US Congress, saying the so-called bill “indulges violent criminals” and aims to “muddle or even destroy Hong Kong.”
He condemned the bill as “naked interference in China’s internal affairs.”
China’s foreign ministry spokesman pledged that Beijing would “take effective measures to resolutely fight back”, giving no details.
The Chinese government has repeatedly said that it might intervene, even militarily, if Hong Kong spirals out of control, and China’s state media said the US legislation would not change that calculus.
“Some may expect this to deter Beijing. Such thinking is naive,” the Global Times said.
Hong Kong has been governed under a “one-country, two-system” model since the city was returned to China in 1997.