Thousands gathered in Hong Kong on Thursday for a “Thanksgiving Rally,” to express appreciation for President Donald Trump and the American people for supporting their fight for democracy against Beijing.
On Wednesday, Trump signed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019,” which recognized the former British colony’s unique status as a semi-autonomous territory from mainland China.
The president also put his signature to legislation prohibiting the export of U.S. tear gas, rubber bullets and handcuffs to the Hong Kong Police Force.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
“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.”
To show their appreciation for Trump and the American people, city residents gathered in the heart of Hong Kong, where they sang the U.S. national anthem and waved American flags.
Hong Kong celebrated America today. Thank you to President Trump for supporting their brave march for freedom. pic.twitter.com/BuNR0iAxGM
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) November 29, 2019
The crowd then began chanting, “USA! USA! USA!”
One of the rally attendees explained to the BBC why the people of Hong Kong were holding their rally.
“We are here because we knew the United States has passed the act for Hong Kong this morning, and we are very thankful for that and we knew that today is Thanksgiving so we especially want to thank the United States citizens also President Donald Trump for supporting Hong Kong and be on our side,” she said.
Thousands of people in Hong Kong gather for a Thanksgiving rally, after President Trump signed a law backing pro-democracy protesters
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 29, 2019
Some of the rally attendees held up pictures of the head of Trump superimposed on Rocky Balboa’s body.
“A record 2.94 million voters turned out — out of 4 million registered voters among a population of 7.5 million — undeterred by long lines throughout the day,” according to The Post.
“Pro-democracy candidates included former student leaders and current protest organizers. They took 57 percent of the popular votes, thereby winning 388 out of 452 seats and securing the majority in 17 of 18 districts councils.”
Protests first erupted in Hong Kong in June after legislation was introduced that would have allowed the extradition of the district’s residents to mainland China, according to the BBC.
The bills triggered concerns that Hong Kong residents would become subject to communist mainland China’s laws. The legislation was withdrawn from consideration in September, but the government has not addressed some of the other protesters’ demands.
After over 150 years of British rule, Hong Kong came under the jurisdiction of Beijing in 1997. China agreed to allow Hong Kong to retain its own judiciary and separate legal system until 2047.
Hong Kong’s “Basic Law” recognizes the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.