Note: Below in this piece, the parts in italics are intended to be used as information in side-bars to the main story. On my current set up I don’t think they can go in like that.
In a Q & A earlier today on Capitol Hill, Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong, 20, said that President-elect Trump’s business background would help human rights activists in China.
“Being a businessman, I think he may recognize the importance for Hong Kong to maintain the free market and free economy as that is important for maintaining the rule of law and human rights,” Wong said.
Joshua Wong is best known for leading the so-called Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong that made international headlines in 2014.
Angered at increasing attempts from Beijing to erode the autonomy of the area promised under the hand over agreement signed in 1997, Wong and other students took to the streets, using umbrellas as a shield from police water cannons and pepper spray.
In contrast to his friend, New York University student and Hong Kong native Jeffery Ngo, 21, warned the Congressional – Executive Commission on China that it was too soon for him to judge Trump.
The Congressional – Executive Commission on China was created at the millennium in order to monitor the progress or erosion of human rights in China. It issues an annual report to Congress and the President on the issue.
“Trump is pretty inconsistent and unpredictable. It’s too soon to speak I would say, we obviously are aware of his policy proposals towards China and we’ll see how that goes,” Ngo said.
During his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton for the presidency, Trump pledged to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese-made products coming in to the United States. He then walked back this position in later interviews, according to PBS.
Americans attending the panel with Wong voiced more concern than their Chinese counterparts. Democratic Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota said he wants to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, but is still uneasy.
“I want to see the President-elect succeed. I want to do all I can to ensure that, I will take him at face value, but I would say I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I am concerned about his China policy,” Walz said.
Annie Boyajian of the Democracy advocacy group Freedom House welcomed a possible tougher stance from the U.S. Government on human rights in China, but cautioned the new president to speak carefully.
“I think the U.S. has not done a great job of taking a strong stance on Hong Kong in the past. So if President-elect Trump is willing to be more vocal, I think that could be beneficial if it’s done in the correct way,” Boyajian said.