WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, bipartisan legislation that would reaffirm U.S. commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when Hong Kong’s autonomy is under assault by interference from the Chinese government and Communist Party.
Co-sponsors include Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) introduced companion legislation in the House.
“As the world bears witness to the brutality with which security forces in Hong Kong are responding to tens of thousands of pro-democracy activists in a display of force not seen in years, I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this important legislation to reaffirm our steadfast support for Hong Kong’s autonomy, democracy and respect for human rights,” Ranking Member Menendez said. “The United States must use all of our diplomatic tools to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong in the face of this latest effort by Beijing to censor them and infringe upon their basic rights and freedoms.”
“A Hong Kong that safeguards its autonomy, upholds fundamental freedoms, and maintains an open business environment is good for Hong Kong, good for the United States, and good for the world,” Chairman Risch said . Bipartisan concern about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy has been growing for several years, but the proposed extradition law has taken that concern to new heights. I continue to urge that the extradition law be withdrawn or indefinitely postponed. Passage will compel the U.S. Senate to reevaluate aspects of the U.S.-Hong Kong relationship.”
“As over one million Hong Kongers take to the streets protesting amendments to the territory’s extradition law, the U.S. must send a strong message that we stand with those peacefully advocating for freedom and the rule of law and against Beijing’s growing interference in Hong Kong affairs,” Rubio said. “I am proud to re-introduce legislation that places the U.S. firmly on the side of human rights and democracy and against those who would erode the freedoms and autonomy guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong, freedoms that have made the city a prosperous global commercial hub governed by the rule of law.”
“America’s strength has been and always will be in our values. We cannot stand idly by as the rights of the people of Hong Kong are trampled on by China,” Cardin said. “I’m proud of our continued, bipartisan affirmation of the United States’ commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy, to Hong Kong’s vibrant civil society and to the basic human rights of the people of Hong Kong.”
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would: