Hong Kong Bill, Turkey and France

Grind for December 7th
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
– William Butler Yeats

Thank You

The Headline

This Thanksgiving, Hongkongers were thankful for President Trump

The Grind

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a human rights bill that supports the pro-Democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Thousands of Hongkongers gathered in the streets to celebrate the bill, which requires annual verification of Hong Kong’s autonomy and threatens to strip the former British territory of its special trade status if such autonomy is undermined by Beijing.

The special status exempts Hong Kong from US sanctions and tariffs imposed on mainland China.

The new law also recommends that Hong Kong citizens be granted US visas if they were arrested for participating in non-violent protests.

Trump also signed a bill that suspends the sale of US-made crowd-control munitions (such as tear gas and stun guns) to the Hong Kong police.

“[The bills] 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,” said Trump.

The Details

China’s foreign ministry responded to the bill by threatening “firm counter-measures” and summoning the US ambassador to Beijing.

“The US has been disregarding facts and distorting truth,” said the ministry in a statement. “It openly backed violent criminals who rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, assaulted innocent civilians, trampled on the rule of law, and jeopardized social order.”

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing government also criticized the law, warning it could exacerbate the protests.

Pointing Fingers

The Headline

Turkey accuses France of sponsoring terrorism

The Grind

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused French President Emmanual Macron of sponsoring terrorism and suggested he was trying to take control of Europe.

“[Macron] is already the sponsor of the terrorist organization and constantly hosts them at the Elysee,” said Cavusoglu. “If he says his ally is the terrorist organization…there is really nothing more to say.”

Cavusoglu’s comments refer to an October 8th meeting between Macron and a representative from the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF).

The primary component of the SDF, known as the YPG, is considered a terrorist group by the Turkish Government.

The Details

Cavusoglu’s accusation threatens to disrupt the NATO meeting scheduled to take place next week in the UK.

Tensions are already high following Macron’s criticism of NATO’s failure to condemn Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria.

The offensive was made possible by President Trump’s surprise withdrawal of US troops from Syria in October.

“One cannot on one hand say that we are allies, and with respect to this demand our solidarity; and on the other hand, put its allies in the face of a military offensive done as a ‘fait accompli’ which endangers the action of the coalition against ISIS, with NATO is a part of,” said Macron.

Relations between Turkey and other NATO members are also strained by Turkey’s decision to purchase S-400 missile defense systems from Russia.

The Trump Administration has already warned Ankara it could face sanctions for the purchase.

Did you know… The word ‘mortgage’ comes from a French law term that means ‘death pledge’.