Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Congress Stands with People of Hong Kong
Nov 22 2019
Hong Kong, a bustling international business hub and one of the world’s most significant commercial ports, is often wrongly assumed to be under the full control of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Less than 25 years ago, Hong Kong was still a British colony. It was handed back to China under a policy known as “one country, two systems”—which suggests that while there is only one China, Hong Kong would retain its own economic and administrative systems. The arrangement allows for Hong Kong to function as a separate entity while the rest of mainland China is governed by the communist system administered by Beijing.
As a result, the citizens of Hong Kong enjoy many liberties denied to those of mainland China. For instance, citizens of Hong Kong have the right to assemble, the right to unfettered access to the internet and freedom of speech.
Those rights appear to be slipping away.
In early June, protestors took to the streets in Hong Kong to denounce attempts from China’s communist regime to institute the same brutal surveillance state it uses to oppress its citizens. The resulting police crackdown enflamed the already high tensions. Now, parts of Hong Kong look like a war zone as the violent response of government forces has led to chaos.
The choice for the U.S. on this issue is quite simple. We must stand up for American values. We must stand with the people of Hong Kong.
Congress has spoken loudly on this issue. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation that supports the pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong by giving Washington additional tools to respond to PRC belligerences.
Specifically, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act—of which I am a proud co-sponsor—authorizes additional sanctions for Chinese and Hong Kong officials tied to human rights abuses. It also requires the State Department to review the special autonomous status the U.S. grants Hong Kong on an annual basis.
I urge President Trump to sign this bill into law. Our policy decisions regarding China go well beyond trade. Signing this measure into law would send President Xi a message that our desire to finalize a better trade deal does not mean we will turn a blind eye to human rights abuses.