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China reacts harshly to US Hong Kong laws

China reacts harshly to US Hong Kong laws

Anti-government protesters raise their hands as they attend the "Lest We Forget" rally in Hong Kong, China December 1, 2019.

Some protesters held banners reading "President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong" and "Let's make Hong Kong great again" - a riff on his 2016 campaign pledge to make America great again.

A USA defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said China's move would not have an impact on US military operations.

"The government seems to be still ignoring the sound of the majority of the people, " he said.

Thousands took to Hong Kong's streets yesterday in a new wave of pro-democracy protests, but police fired tear gas after some demonstrators hurled bricks and smoke bombs, breaking a pause in violence that has persisted during the six-month-long movement.

"If we don't walk out, the government will say it's just a youth issue, but this is a Hong Kong problem that affects all of us", Lily Chau, 30, said as she pushed her toddler in a stroller at the Kowloon march.

Shops and businesses in the area closed early as police sprayed volleys of tear gas at protesters, including some elderly residents and others with their pets, as they marched past the city's Kowloon waterfront, home to luxury hotels and shopping malls.

Beijing has repeatedly blamed Washington and other western countries for fueling the protests have rocked the financial hub of Hong Kong since June.

"Rather tha (n) target an organisation that seeks to defend the rights of the people of Hong Kong, the Chinese government should respect those rights", said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

"We want the police to stop using tear gas", said a woman surnamed Wong, who marched with her husband and 5-year-old son.

On Saturday, secondary school students and retirees joined forces to protest against what they called police brutality and unlawful arrests.

The controversial bill stoked anti-government sentiment as it would have allowed for suspected criminals to be extradited to mainland China under some circumstances.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of protesters waved American flags, with some donning Donald Trump logo hats and t-shirts, as they unfurled a banner depicting the USA president standing astride a tank with a US flag behind him.

A protester wears an American flag scarf during one of the rallies, appealing to U.S. President Donald Trump for his government's continued support.

China said yesterday it will suspend US Navy visits to Hong Kong and sanction several American pro-democracy organisations in retaliation for the signing into law of legislation supporting human rights in the semi-autonomous territory.

She also said that Ms Lam's Government must prioritise "meaningful, inclusive" dialogue to resolve the crisis.

"China urged the United States side to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs", Hua said, adding: "China will take necessary actions in accordance with the situation to safeguard the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, as well as national sovereignty, security and development interests", Hua said".