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Rubio, Menendez, Merkley, Coons File Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act to Senate’s China Legislation

May 21, 2021 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Chris Coons (D-DE) in filing an amendment to the China legislative package currently being debated on the Senate Floor. The amendment seeks to add a provision to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act to ensure Hong Kongers who peacefully protested Beijing’s corrupt justice system, and have a well-founded fear of persecution, are eligible for Priority 2 Refugee status. The amendment stems from Rubio’s Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, bipartisan legislation that was introduced earlier this year. 

“The CCP is tightening its stranglehold on Hong Kong and with that comes the targeting of Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders and activists,” Rubio said. “We have already seen activists, including Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and others get dragged away to prison for nothing more than exercising the rights guaranteed to them. The U.S. must do all it can to assist those Hong Kongers who have courageously stood up to defend the city they love from the CCP’s persecution and open our doors to them. We must also continue to encourage like-minded nations to make similar accommodations in support of those Hong Kongers in need of safe harbor.”

“As we continue to debate how to best restructure and recalibrate U.S. policy towards China, we cannot lose sight of the need to meet our nation’s moral obligation to the people of Hong Kong,” Menendez said. “I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in this effort to ground our policies in our values, making it clear that we are committed to providing refuge to Hong Kong’s democratic activists, human rights activists, journalists and other Hong Kong citizens currently being targeted on trumped-up charges of sedition and national security violations.”

“As the Senate continues the important work of shaping comprehensive bipartisan policy towards China, it’s critical that we reaffirm our shared commitment to protect Hong Kongers facing persecution for exercising their fundamental rights,” Coons said. “ I’m proud to introduce this amendment with my colleagues that will send a clear message around the world that the United States stands by those fighting for democracy and freedom.” 

Rubio is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Menendez is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 

A copy of the senators’ amendment can be found here.