Smith, China Commission Reintroduce Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act
(Washington, D.C)—U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the Chair and Cochair respectively of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), along with CECC Commissioner and former Chair, U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) today reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, bicameral and bipartisan legislation that reaffirms the U.S. commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when these freedoms and Hong Kong’s autonomy are being eroded through interference by the Chinese government and Communist Party.
The House bill (attached) is led by Representative Smith and Representative McGovern and includes Representatives Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Scott Perry (R-PA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) as co-sponsors. Joining Senator Rubio on the Senate bill are Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Angus King (I-ME), Ed Markey, (D-MA), and Josh Hawley (R-MO). Senators King and Cotton and Representative Suozzi are CECC Commissioners.
“This legislation makes clear that the U.S. Congress stands with the people of Hong Kong in their effort to preserve human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong,” said McGovern. “If the extradition bill moves forward and Hong Kong’s autonomy and democratic institutions continue to erode due to interference from the Chinese government, the Congress has no choice but to reassess whether Hong Kong can receive preferential economic and trade benefits under U.S. law.”
“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 Rubio. “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.”
“We introduce this legislation today because democracy and freedom are under assault in Hong Kong, and it is critical for the Congress to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy, to the human rights guaranteed the people of Hong Kong, and to those peacefully protesting the Chinese government’s increasingly rough oversight of Hong Kong,” said Smith. “It is in everyone’s interest that Hong Kong remain a free and prosperous bridge between China and the world. But if Beijing intends to force Hong Kong into becoming just another mainland Chinese city under authoritarian rule, we must reevaluate whether Hong Kong warrants the special status granted under U.S. law.”
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would: