Speaker Pelosi Vows to Move Smith's Hong Kong Human Rights BillSmith Bill Focus of Bipartisan Press Conference
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) joined Speaker Pelosi at a bipartisan press conference called today to announce that the House of Representatives will take up Smith’s bill, HR 3289, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 to send a clear and unified message to the protesters in Hong Kong that they have the full support and backing of the United States in their quest for justice and freedom.
The Speaker promised to bring Smith’s bill to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. The bill must first move out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, then on to a full House vote. Foreign Affairs Committee leaders attended the press conference, and said they expected to take up HR 3289 next week.
Smith gave the following statement:
Since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre thirty years ago, I’ve had the privilege of working in a bipartisan way with Speaker Pelosi on human rights, the rule of law and democracy for the people of China.
We have always believed that every person in China deserves better.
And have always understood that solemn promises made by Beijing—were seldom kept—and that far too many leaders of the free world were far too eager to blindly accept fiction over fact.
During the 2014 Umbrella Movement the world saw the courageous people of Hong Kong demanding that Beijing not renege on promises made to ensure universal suffrage and authentic elections in 2017.
Despite Mr. Xi’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors then—and especially now—the resolve, courage, tenacity and clarity of purpose of the people of Hong Kong shines through the darkness like the sun.
The great young leader Joshua Wong reminded us at yesterday’s hearing that a fourth of the population of Hong Kong—about 2 million people—turned out for one of the peaceful protests. Where has that ever happened?
Specifically, the Act:
I’ve heard it said that “the business of Hong Kong is business”, but it is clear to me now that the business of Hong Kong is freedom.
The people of Hong Kong are working to protect the rights and rule of law that are the foundation of the city’s prosperity and unique vitality.
We must stand united with the people of Hong Kong.
The press conference included Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX), of House Foreign Affairs Committee; Congressional-Executive Commission on China Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA); Joshua Wong, Secretary-General of Demosistō and “Umbrella Movement” Leader; Nathan Law, Founding Chairman and Standing Committee Member, Demosistō; Denise Ho, Pro-democracy Activist and Cantopop Singer and Actress, and pro-democracy activists.
Smith is a commissioner on the CECC and past two-time chairman, as well as a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
At a CECC hearing Tuesday, Smith, CECC chair Rep. McGovern, co-chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and other members of the commission, held a hearing entitled “Hong Kong’s Summer of Discontent and U.S. Policy Responses.” The hearing focused on developments in Hong Kong and the future of U.S.-Hong Kong relations in light of the ongoing demonstrations and the escalating tensions caused by police violence and threats by the Chinese government against Hong Kong’s autonomy. Wong and Ho were among the witnesses who testified. The CSPAN hearing video can be watched here.