Thousands of Hong Kong residents gathered at a ‘Thanksgiving’ rally on Thursday, Nov. 28, to celebrate the pro-democracy legislation signed by President Donald Trump. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 27, President Trump signed two bills into law that provide support for Hong Kong’s autonomy despite pushback from Beijing officials. One of the bills aimed at protecting Hong Kong protestors, preventing the sale of tear gas and rubber bullets to Hong Kong police. The other allows U.S. officials to impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who are accused of committing human rights abuses.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” President 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.”

In response to the legislation, China promised “firm countermeasures” which will likely affect any trade deal between the two nations in the near future. 

By contrast, people of Hong Kong were thrilled. On Thursday at the rally, they expressed their appreciation to President Trump by waving American flags and holding copies of a doctored image of the president’s face superimposed on Rocky Balboa’s body.

“The rationale for us having this rally is to show our gratitude and thank the U.S Congress and also President Trump for passing the bill,” 23-year-old Sunny Cheung told Reuters. “We are really grateful about that and we really appreciate the effort made by Americans who support Hong Kong, who stand with Hong Kong, who do not choose to side with Beijing.”

Demonstrations have dragged on for six month in Hong Kong, starting with a protest of a now-shelved extradition bill and having expanded to include several other demands, including universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police conduct in dealing with protesters.

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