Toomey Backs Congressional Action in Support of Hong Kong Autonomy
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is pursuing legislative action in support of protesters in Hong Kong who are fighting to preserve their democratic freedoms and independent legal system.
Senator Toomey is backing the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act¬ - introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The bill seeks to reaffirm the United States' commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law for Hong Kongers at a time when China is seeking to erode Hong Kong's autonomy.
"The protests in Hong Kong are grounded in the removal of an unpopular and unfair extradition bill," said Senator Toomey. "However, the fight extends well beyond one piece of legislation. It extends to stopping the growth of Chinese authoritarianism, which poses a threat to basic human rights, including the right to free speech, the right to a fair trial, and the right to a genuinely representative government. This bipartisan legislation makes clear that the United States stands alongside the Hong Kong people in their struggle for freedom, and I urge all my colleagues to support this measure."
"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," said Senator Rubio upon introduction. "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."
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would:
- Require the Secretary of State to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong's autonomy to justify special treatment afforded to Hong Kong by the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.
- Require the president to identify persons responsible for the abductions of Hong Kong booksellers and journalists and those complicit in suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, including those complicit in the forced removal of individuals exercising internationally recognized rights to mainland China for detention or trial, and to freeze their U.S.-based assets and deny them entry to the United States.
- Require the president to issue a strategy to protect U.S. citizens and businesses from the implications of a revised Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, including by determining whether to revise the U.S.-Hong Kong extradition agreement and the State Department's travel advisory for Hong Kong.
- Require the Secretary of Commerce to issue an annual report assessing whether the Government of Hong Kong is adequately enforcing both U.S. export regulations regarding sensitive dual-use items and U.S. and U.N. sanctions, particularly regarding Iran and North Korea.
- Make clear that visa applicants shall not be denied visas on the basis of the applicant's arrest, detention or other adverse government action taken as a result of their participation in the nonviolent protest activities related to pro-democracy advocacy, human rights, or the rule of law in Hong Kong.