US conservative leader: China is more 'fragile than we realize'

Conservative leader Matt Schlapp said Monday that China is more “fragile” than people realize, suggesting the country could soon see a change of power amid ongoing anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

“I can’t predict which way this goes, but America needs to really realize that we are in a moment where if actually if the right things happen, we could see a new government in Beijing,” Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti.

He predicted that, in the meantime, China's government will look to “terrible tactics to hold onto power.”

Schlapp said he met with protesters in Hong Kong over Labor Day weekend.

After seeing the demonstrations firsthand, the conservative activist described it as a “fraught situation,” but added he was heartened by the sense of camaraderie among the people of Hong Kong.

Schlapp's comments come amid months-long protests in the semi-autonomous city. Demonstrations began in late March over an extradition bill that has since been withdrawn. Protesters have pushed for their list of demands, including a crackdown on alleged policy brutality.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets on Sunday carrying the American flag, calling on Trump to intervene. Demonstrators also urged the U.S. president to back a human rights bill that would impose economic sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland China.

But Hong Kong’s government has made clear it doesn’t want the U.S. to get involved.

A government official issued a statement Monday saying, “Foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs.”

The congressional legislation is considered a top priority for some lawmakers as they return to Capitol Hill this week after their August recess.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House House Republican attempts to appeal fine for bypassing metal detector outside chamber MORE (D-Calif.) said last week that Congress looks forward to “swiftly advancing” the bill.

"Democrats and Republicans continue to stand united with the people of Hong Kong in demanding the hopeful, free and democratic future that is their right,” Pelosi said in a statement.

—Tess Bonn