At times, the demonstrations in Hong Kong seem like love festivals with the United States. Based on the day, the demonstrators wave American flags and Uncle Sam’s recruiting signs and even dress up as Captain America, complete with a shield.
The United States represents democracy, and the activists hope that it may, perhaps, save Hong Kong. Five months later, they’re trying harder than ever to get the United States into their movement.
Protesters are pressing Hong Kong officials and their supervisors, the authoritarian leaders of the Communist Party of China, for greater democratic rights and the rule of law in the autonomous territory. As they see it, the Trump administration may be able to make demands of Chinese leaders or Hong Kong officials, especially because elite political circles want to retain access to the United States.
Also, they note that the trade war with China, which began with President Donald Trump, has increased overall pressure on President Xi Jinping.
For the U.S. government, protests are more complicated — a potential political dilemma, but also potential leverage with Beijing, and a way to channel U.S. values to the rest of the world.
If the protesters send out a siren song, some U.S. officials and lawmakers respond, eager to show their commitment to the cause.
Members of Congress have made public displays of solidarity in Hong Kong. Last month, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was wearing a black suit, while Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, was posting photos of the rally.
But U.S. officials say the U.S. needs to weigh its moves carefully.
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