Smith Concerned for Peaceful Demonstrators in Hong Kong
Urges Chinese Gov’t Restraint; Plans New House Hong Kong Caucus
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), co-chairman of the U.S. Commission on China, (CECC) and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs global human rights subcommittee, called on the government China to show "leadership and restraint" in dealing with peaceful demonstrations and urged the Chinese government to respect the commitments it made guaranteeing autonomy and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.
Smith also said he will be establishing a congressional Hong Kong Caucus to monitor human rights in the former British colony.
“Hong Kong's unique system has ensured prosperity and spurred the type of creativity and vitality that only comes with the advance of fundamental freedoms," said Smith, who has conducted over 45 hearings on human rights abuses in China. "At this time, leadership and restraint are needed to avoid unnecessary violence and protect Hong Kong's Basic Law and its long-established traditions. The freedom genie cannot be stuffed neatly back into the communist bottle. Beijing can accept this fact, work within the promised ‘One Country, Two Systems Model,’ and be lauded for its leadership, or Beijing can use force and repression again to stifle peaceful dissent and reform, losing the trust of the people of Hong Kong, neighboring countries, and the international community at large."
Smith has a long track record of speaking out on human rights in mainland China, as well as Hong Kong.
"Hong Kong’s continued autonomy is a concern of the U.S. Congress and of freedom-loving peoples everywhere," said Smith. "That is why I am starting a Hong Kong Caucus in the Congress, to focus attention on Hong Kong and to make sure the tenets of the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 are advanced. In a world where there are many forces seeking to violently roll-back liberty and human rights, China must choose on which side it will stand. Embracing greater freedoms and universal suffrage may be a scary choice for the leaders in Beijing, but Hong Kong's vitality, its prosperity, its freedoms and legal traditions have produced stability and a shining example for the world. Retaining Hong Kong's unique system can have global historical implications."