Hong Kong CNN  — 

Protesters in Hong Kong will hold a celebratory, pro-US rally Thursday after President Donald Trump gave them what one prominent activist termed a “timely Thanksgiving present.”

Trump signed an act in support of the protest movement despite a potential backlash from Beijing that could derail delicate US-China trade talks, after it was passed almost unanimously by both houses of Congress.

A pro-democracy protester holds up a US flag during a gathering of thanks at Edinburgh Place in Hong Kong's Central district.

Anti-government protesters in the semi-autonomous Chinese city have long campaigned in favor of the bill – which would permit Washington to impose sanctions or even suspend Hong Kong’s special trading status over rights violations. Trump’s decision to sign the act gives the movement a second major symbolic victory in a matter of days.

On Sunday, pro-democracy candidates scored a landslide victory in district council elections, framed as a de-facto referendum on the protest movement, which began in June in opposition to a controversial extradition bill but has grown to include demands for greater democratic freedoms and inquiries into alleged police brutality.

Activists and pro-democracy politicians in the city celebrated online after Trump signed the bill, with former lawmaker Nathan Law calling it a “timely Thanksgiving present.”

Protesters stick a poster featuring US President Donald Trump on a pillar during a demonstration in Central, the financial district of Hong Kong.

Shortly after the bill was signed into law, China’s Foreign Ministry accused the US of “bullying behavior,” “disregarding the facts” and “publicly supporting violent criminals.”

“We urge the United States not to insist on going down this path, or China would firmly strike back and the United States would have to bear all consequences,” the statement read.