A Republican lawmaker from Florida called for American taxpayers to boycott “Chinese products” amid the circulation of rumors that the Chinese government might militarily intervene in the pro-democracy protests taking place in Hong Kong.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said on Tuesday that “China’s aggression” toward the protesters in Hong Kong warranted losing the “support” of the American taxpayers and called for people to support “American businesses” instead of “Chinese products.”
“American taxpayers cannot continue to support China’s aggression, and must start supporting American businesses over Chinese products,” Scott said. “This is about protecting human rights.”
The Florida Republican went on to claim that mainland China “is attempting” to halt the “prosperity and remaining political freedom of Hong Kong” and that America and the other “freedom-loving nations” of the world need to be ready to “defend freedom” in Hong Kong should the violence escalate.
“Right now, China is attempting to put an end to the prosperity and remaining political freedom of Hong Kong. The United States, and all the freedom-loving nations around the world, must stand ready to swiftly move to defend freedom if China escalates the conflict in Hong Kong.”
U.S. lawmakers have warned that they would take another look at legislation that gives Hong Kong its special status if the mainland Chinese government moves to support a harder push against the protesters.
Officials from the government of China have pushed back on the lawmakers’ shots, with the spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, demanding the U.S. “mind [its] own business and stay out of Hong Kong affairs” on Tuesday
“I cannot help asking the relevant senators and House representatives: Are you lawmakers or law-breakers?” said Chunying. “We solemnly remind you this plain truth: Hong Kong affairs are entirely China’s internal affairs, and you are neither entitled nor qualified to wantonly comment on them. Mind your own business and stay out of Hong Kong affairs.”
The protests in Hong Kong have entered into their tenth week after being sparked over a proposed extradition law that would allow for mainland Chinese officials to take fugitives in Hong Kong into custody.
The legislation has been shelved by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, but she has refused to kill the bill.
“Hong Kong is seriously wounded,” said Lam on Tuesday. “Let’s set aside differences and spend one minute to look at our city and our home. Could we bear to push it into an abyss where everything will perish?”
As IJR News previously reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tweeted that “any violent crackdown” by the Chinese government against the protesters “would be completely unacceptable.”