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ICYMI: Rubio: China is showing its true nature in Hong Kong. The U.S. must not watch from the sidelines.

Sep 4, 2019 | Press Releases

China is showing its true nature in Hong Kong. The U.S. must not watch from the sidelines.
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
September 3, 2019
The Washington Post
By choosing violence and intimidation to silence Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party is once again showing its true nature. Beijing recently reinforced its People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong with thousands of troops and authorized a new wave of arrests to intimidate peaceful demonstrators. In parallel, it reportedly blocked the Hong Kong government’s proposal to work out a compromise with the city’s massive and grassroots pro-democracy movement.
What began as a protest against an unjust extradition bill backed by China has now become a fight for Hong Kong’s autonomy and future. Yet what’s happening in Hong Kong is not simply China’s internal affair. The United States and other responsible nations are not watching from the sidelines.
The extradition bill is only the latest example of China’s many broken promises to the Hong Kong people and the world. Most obviously, the Chinese Communist Party is preventing the city’s government from acting with the autonomy that Beijing had promised it in a legally binding 1984 international treaty with Britain, under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, and in China’s diplomatic outreach to the United States and other nations.

The world ignores these warning signals at the peril of the Hong Kong people and the hundreds of thousands of foreigners — including roughly 85,000 U.S. citizens — living in the city. China’s leaders today are using the same messaging playbook that they have followed since they intervened in North Korea in 1950. We were surprised then; we should be prepared now.
The United States and the international community must make clear to Chinese leaders and power brokers that their aggression toward Hong Kong risks swift, severe and lasting consequences.
In particular, the administration should make clear that the United States can respond flexibly and robustly in Hong Kong. Our options are much more than just a “nuclear option” of ending Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law.

The administration also can impose sanctions against individual officials who have committed serious human rights abuses under the Global Magnitsky Act, which enables sanctions against foreign individuals or entities. In addition, Congress should pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, a bill that I co-authored with Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), James E. Risch (R-Idaho) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). The bill, among other things, would mandate that officials in China and Hong Kong who have undermined the city’s autonomy are vulnerable to such sanctions.

China’s leaders must either respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law or know that their escalating aggression will inexorably lead them to face swift, severe and lasting consequences from the United States and the world. Today, that choice is theirs.
Read the rest here.