WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) in introducing an amendment to the China legislative package currently being debated on the Senate Floor. The amendment seeks to add a provision to the bipartisan Strategic Competition Act to ensure Hong Kongers who peacefully protested Beijing’s corrupt justice system and have a well-founded fear of persecution are eligible for Priority 2 Refugee status. The amendment stems from the senators’ Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, stand-alone legislation that was introduced earlier in the year.
“As we continue to debate how to best restructure and recalibrate U.S. policy towards China, we cannot lose sight of the need to meet our nation’s moral obligation to the people of Hong Kong,” said Chairman Menendez. “I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in this effort to ground our policies in our values, making it clear that we are committed to providing refuge to Hong Kong’s democratic activists, human rights activists, journalists and other Hong Kong citizens currently being targeted on trumped-up charges of sedition and national security violations.”
“As the Chinese Communist Party and government continue to crack down on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leaders and activists, we must ensure we are doing all we can to provide safe haven to those that are under threat of CCP persecution,” said Senator Rubio. “I was proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill and support its inclusion in the Strategic Competition Act of 2021.”
“As the Senate continues the important work of shaping comprehensive bipartisan policy towards China, it’s critical that we reaffirm our shared commitment to protect Hong Kongers facing persecution for exercising their fundamental rights,” said Senator Coons. “ I’m proud to introduce this amendment with my colleagues that will send a clear message around the world that the United States stands by those fighting for democracy and freedom.”
A copy of the senators’ amendment can be found HERE