Floor Remarks by Rep. Smith, the Prime Sponsor of H.R. 3289—the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019
The following are excerpts of remarks by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), prime sponsor of H.R. 3289—the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, during Floor Debate in the U.S. of Representatives on October 15, 2019:
Since the 1989 Tiananmen massacre thirty years ago, I’ve had the privilege of working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle—including 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 than the brutality so many endure and the systematic violations of their universally recognized human rights.
Solemn promises made by Beijing are rarely kept and far too many leaders of the free world are far too eager to blindly accept fiction over fact.
Broken promises are the rule not the exception under Xi Jinping and the people of Hong Kong are suffering because of it.
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, basic rights and authentic elections in 2017.
Despite President Xi’s brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors—then and especially now, triggered this time by an outrageous proposed policy to facilitate extradition—the resolve, courage, tenacity and clarity of purpose of the people of Hong Kong shines through the darkness like the sun.
Two days ago, Reuters reported that President Xi told leaders in Nepal: “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones.”
Xi’s government excels in crushing bodies, shattering bones, torturing dissidents and filling concentration camps—massive crimes against humanity for which there has been little or no accountability or sanction.
But today we’re simply urging the Chinese President and the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, to faithfully honor the government’s promises.
Honor the promises made in 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that facilitated the conveyance of Hong Kong from the UK to the China beginning July 1, 1997 that autonomy, human rights including press, assembly, association and religion would be exactly the same as before the handover for at least 50 years.
Honor the promises made in the “Basic Law” of Hong Kong adopted by China’s National People’s Congress in 1990—before the giveback—that autonomy and rights would be protected.
Even before the latest round of protests, the U.S. State Department reported that rights and liberties in Hong Kong had “diminished”.
The great young leader Joshua Wong reminded us 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?
Our new bill, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019—cosponsored by Mr. McGovern—is a blueprint for meaningful action.
Specifically, the Act:
What’s the social credit system, you ask? A ubiquitous totalitarian “brave new world” system scheduled for implementation by 2020 that will use public records, online activity and other tools of surveillance to aggregate data on every Chinese citizen and business and use that data to monitor, shape and rate financial, social, religious or political behaviors.
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 and democracy.