Pro-democracy protesters gathered in Hong Kong on Thanksgiving to show their gratitude to President Donald Trump after he signed legislation in their favor.
Trump signed two bills into law on Wednesday that provide support for the protesters in Hong Kong and threaten economic consequences against China.
On Thursday, demonstrators showed their appreciation to the president by waving American flags and holding copies of an image Trump tweeted that shows his head photoshopped onto fictional boxer Rocky Balboa’s body.
One of the bills signed by the president prevents the sale of tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police, as they have been used to deter the crowds of protesters. The other gives the authority to impose sanctions and remove Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S. if China is found to have violated the city’s autonomy.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi [Jinping], China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “They 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.”
The legislation could significantly affect the president’s current trade negotiations with China, and the country responded by accusing Trump of “bullying” them.
“This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people, including our compatriots in Hong Kong, further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot doomed to fail,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.