Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are celebrating President Donald Trump as their new hero. Their admiration for Trump overflowed during the “Thanksgiving Rally” Thursday night as they praised the American President for signing two bills backing human rights in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong protesters held aloft print outs of Trump’s shirtless picture that appeared on the Wednesday tweet showing Trump’s head on Rocky Balboa’s muscular body.

“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” thousands of protestors chanted in a public square waving American flags and held up copies of the photo.

Joshua Wong, top pro-democracy activist lauded Trump and said the next goal is to win over more Western leaders to put pressure on the Chinese government to accept their demands.

Chinese government officials, on their part, alleged that Trump was trying to use Hong Kong as a pawn to disturb China’s growth.

For the past six months, the former British colony has been in chaos with mass protests and violent incidents rocking the city. More than 5,000 people are in police custody after the protests erupted over an extradition bill seeking transfer of Hong Kong activists to mainland China.

Safeguard against abuse of rights

Trump signed the Hong Kong bills amidst negotiations with China for an interim trade deal to end the year-long trade war. The bills had the unanimous backing of House and Senate. The Hong King bills have added more friction to Washington’s relationship with Beijing.

The laws signed by Trump mandate sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials for any violation of human rights on the semi-autonomous island. It also calls for an annual review of Hong Kong’s trade status and ban of nonlethal weapons exports to Hong Kong police.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad that the bill is a “serious interference in China’s internal affairs and a gross violation of international law.”

However, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing urged China’s Communist Party to “honor its promises to the Hong Kong people.” The harbor city’s control came to China in 1997 from the United Kingdom.

China said it would respond with 'firm countermeasures' after Donald Trump signed into law a bill recognising Hong Kong's rights
China said it would respond with 'firm countermeasures' after Donald Trump signed into law a bill recognising Hong Kong's rights AFP / MANDEL NGAN

China extracting forced confessions

Meanwhile, a former employee of the UK consulate in Hong Kong filed an official complaint against China's state-run CGTN for broadcasting the forced confession extracted from him. He made the complaint to the U.K. broadcasting regulator, Ofcom

Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen had worked for the U.K. government for two years. He was detained by China for 15 days during a trip to mainland China in August, BBC News reported.

Cheng says he was forced to confess that he hired prostitutes. Cheng denied the accusation and said police in China questioned him about the role of the U.K in the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.