Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, today urged Secretary of State John Kerry to speak out against recent efforts by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to undermine Hong Kong’s status as an autonomous region of China and the ability of the citizens of Hong Kong to choose their own representatives.

In a letter to Kerry, Rubio highlighted the Chinese government’s decision to prohibit Hong Kong voters from selecting nominees for the position of Chief Executive of Hong Kong, and instead force them to choose from a pool of pre-approved candidates. Rubio warned Kerry of the threat this poses to Hong Kong’s unique relationship with the U.S.

“The NPCSC’s decision violates the international commitments China has made regarding Hong Kong’s status,” Rubio wrote. “The people of Hong Kong have the right to elect their chief executive through democratic procedure, not be forced to pick from a pool of Chinese government approved candidates.

“I urge you to clearly speak out against this most recent decision by NPCSC and to work with your Chinese counterparts to ensure that Beijing does not further limit Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and its ability to move toward full democracy if its citizens so intend,” continued Rubio. “If Hong Kong continues down this dangerous path, Congress may need to consider reviewing the special trade and economic provisions Hong Kong enjoys as an autonomous region of China under U.S. law.”

A PDF of the letter is available here. The full text of the letter is below.

September 15, 2014

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Kerry:

I write to you today regarding the United States’ policy toward Hong Kong. The United States and Hong Kong enjoy a strong relationship with close cultural, economic, and financial ties. As you know, the U.S. - Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 states that it is U.S policy to preserve Hong Kong’s unique status and to support democratization in Hong Kong. Additionally, the act declares the United States’ strong interest in continued vitality, prosperity, and stability of Hong Kong. However, in recent weeks, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has moved to undermine this status and to thwart Hong Kong democracy.

On August 31, China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) placed strict conditions on any possible electoral reforms in Hong Kong. The NPCSC prohibited Hong Kong voters from exercising their right to select nominees for the position of Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Instead, only candidates who are pre-approved by the government in Beijing will be allowed on the ballot. As Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the NPCSC said, candidates will need to “love the country [China], and love Hong Kong,” which is code for loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party. The NPCSC’s decision violates the international commitments China has made regarding Hong Kong’s status. The people of Hong Kong have the right to elect their chief executive through democratic procedure, not be forced to pick from a pool of Chinese government approved candidates.

I urge you to clearly speak out against this most recent decision by NPCSC and to work with your Chinese counterparts to ensure that Beijing does not further limit Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and its ability to move toward full democracy if its citizens so intend. If Hong Kong continues down this dangerous path, Congress may need to consider reviewing the special trade and economic provisions Hong Kong enjoys as an autonomous region of China under U.S. law. 

Standing up for the rights of the people of Hong Kong to fully realize their aspirations will help, not hurt America’s standing in the region.

Sincerely,