Van Hollen, Risch, Menendez, Colleagues Introduce Resolution in Support of Hong Kongers
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in introducing a resolution condemning Beijing’s destruction of Hong Kong’s democracy and rule of law in addition to its political persecution of Jimmy Lai and other pro-democracy advocates.
- Condemns the Chinese government’s “Hong Kong national security law” and related human rights abuses.
- Supports the people of Hong Kong as they fight to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms.
- Condemns the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) practice of bringing false and politically-motivated charges against Hong Kongers, as well as the state-directed theft of Apple Daily – Jimmy Lai’s media company.
- Urges the U.S. government to use all available tools, including those authorized by the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, in response to the CCP’s actions in Hong Kong.
- Encourages the United States and other governments to press multilateral organizations to no longer grant Hong Kong voting rights separate from China.
Joining Senators Risch and Menendez in addition to Senator Van Hollen are Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Ben Lujan (D-N.M.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kevin Cramer (D-N.D.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Gary Peters (R-Mich.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Full text of the resolution can be found here and below.
Condemning Beijing’s destruction of Hong Kong’s democracy and rule of law.
Whereas, in 1997, Great Britain handed Hong Kong over to Chinese rule under guarantees that Hong Kong would become a Special Administrative Region under the ‘‘one country, two systems’’ principle, pursuant to which Hong Kong’s Basic Law would apply and would enshrine ‘‘fundamental rights’’ of Hong Kong residents and a political structure, including an independent judiciary, the right to vote, and freedoms of assembly and speech, among others;
Whereas the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has repeatedly undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy since the 1997 handover, including actions which resulted in political protests in Hong Kong, including the Umbrella Movement in 2014, a protest against Beijing’s attempt to reform Hong Kong’s electoral system, and the 2019–2020 protests, which opposed the Hong Kong government’s attempt to implement an extradition law that would have subjected Hong Kongers to prosecution in mainland China;
Whereas the Hong Kong Police Force used excessive force to try to quell the 2019–2020 protestors, many of whom were under the age of 30;
Whereas the Government of the People’s Republic of China responded to these protests by passing and implementing the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (commonly referred to as the ‘‘Hong Kong national security law’’) a vaguely defined criminal statute that includes overly broad charges and extraterritorial reach to punish people for exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms;
Whereas, since its enactment in June 2020, this law has been used by the Government of the People’s Republic of China as a pretext to crack down on legitimate and peaceful expression, including the exercise of freedoms of assembly, speech, and religious belief provided for under the Basic Law, to replace the Hong Kong legislature with individuals loyal to the Chinese Communist Party, and to pass new immigration laws that subject Hong Kong citizens and residents, as well as PRC nationals and foreign nationals, to exit bans in Hong Kong similar to those implemented in mainland China;
Whereas more than 200 people have been arrested under the Hong Kong national security law since its enactment in June 2020;
Whereas the Government of the People’s Republic of China is using the Hong Kong national security law to harass, target, and threaten non-Hong Kong citizens and those outside of Hong Kong, based upon for unsubstantiated and vague allegations of ‘‘endangering national security’’;
Whereas, Jimmy Lai, a 75-year-old Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate and media entrepreneur, has been targeted and persecuted for decades, most recently through multiple prosecutions, including related to exercising his rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, his sentencing to over five years in prison under politically motivated fraud charges and the seizure of his multimillion dollar independent media organization Apple Daily by the Hong Kong authorities;
Whereas Mr. Lai is now one of the highest profile cases facing trial under vaguely-defined charges under the so-called ‘‘national security law’’;
Whereas, Cardinal Zen, a 90-year-old Roman Catholic cardinal, and five other colleagues were found guilty of politically motivated charges related to failing to register a humanitarian fund that helped anti-government protesters;
Whereas the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s undermining of democracy in Hong Kong has ramifications for the international order, including with regard to the future of Taiwan;
Whereas the Hong Kong government has conducted a public relations campaign to convince global business leaders that Hong Kong remains a critical and attractive international financial center, while simultaneously undermining the independence of institutions that encouraged its growth over the past several decades;
Whereas Hong Kong still maintains a separate voting share from the People’s Republic of China at many multilateral organizations—including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the Financial Action Task Force, the International Olympic Committee, and the World Trade Organization—effectively doubling the People’s Republic of China’s voting power at these critical institutions; and
Whereas the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (Public Law 116–76; 22 U.S.C. 5701 note), signed into law in November 2019, requires the President to use sanctions to promote accountability for those responsible for certain conduct that undermines fundamental freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) condemns the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s ‘‘Hong Kong national security law’’ and related human rights abuses;
(2) urges all governments that value democracy or autonomy to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its destruction of Hong Kong’s autonomy, rule of law, and freedoms;
(3) supports the people of Hong Kong as they fight to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms as enumerated by—
(A) the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, done at Beijing December 19, 1984;
(B) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, done at New York December 19, 1966; and
(C) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, done at Paris December 10, 1948;
(4) condemns the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s practice of bringing false and politically motivated charges, such as fraud, against Hong Kongers in order to tarnish their reputations in advance of their national security law trials;
(5) calls upon the Hong Kong government to immediately drop all sedition and national security law-related charges and free all defendants immediately, including Jimmy Lai and Cardinal Zen;
(6) expresses extreme concern about the Government of the People’s Republic of China’ state-directed theft of Apple Daily, and holds that Hong Kong no longer has credibility as an international business center due to the erosion of the regulatory and legal environments that have promoted its economic growth for decades;
(7) encourages the United States Government and other governments to take steps at multilateral institutions to ensure that voting procedures recognize that there is no longer a meaningful distinction between Hong Kong and mainland China; and
(8) urges the United States Government to use all available tools, including those authorized by the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, in response to the Government of the People’s Republic of China’s actions in Hong Kong.
Next Article Previous Article