Rubio: Hong Kong Has U.S. Support to Defend Freedom & Autonomy Against Chinese Aggression
Sen. Marco Rubio: Hong Kong has US support to defend freedom and autonomy against Chinese aggression
By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
December 5, 2019
As tensions remain high in Hong Kong, the United States has just sent its clearest message yet to Beijing: we will lead the world in standing with the people of Hong Kong as they defend their long-cherished freedoms and autonomy against the Chinese Communist Party’s growing aggression.
In November, President Trump signed my Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law, giving the U.S. powerful new tools to deter Beijing’s growing interference and malign influence in Hong Kong’s affairs. President Trump’s decision follows the act’s near-unanimous, bipartisan passage in Congress.
One of the new tools enabled by the law is enhanced authority to allow the administration to sanction individuals responsible for some of the most egregious violations of the civil rights guaranteed to Hong Kongers: extrajudicial rendition, arbitrary detention, torture, and forced confession, as well as other infringements of human rights.
Another requires the secretary of state to certify annually whether Hong Kong continues to warrant special status treatment under U.S. laws. The certification will include the secretary’s assessment of Hong Kong’s autonomy in government decision-making, law enforcement and extradition requests, universal suffrage, judicial independence, security functions, export controls, and sanctions enforcement.
It should come as no surprise that Beijing is not pleased with America’s strengthened posture, attacking the law as a “piece of waste paper” and “serious provocation against the entire Chinese people.” Hong Kong’s special economic status under the “one country, two systems” framework provides tremendous material riches to the Chinese Communist Party, so the threat of losing that capital flow is no doubt harrowing.
Whether in Xinjiang, Tibet, or elsewhere, China has worked to squash what it sees as threats to that conformity and to sinicize disparate populations. Even if Beijing’s strategies differ individually case by case, we cannot allow them to apply the same general rulebook to the people of Hong Kong.
To ensure balance and deter Chinese aggression, we must take these threats seriously — and be ready to act to defend our national interests, the God-given rights of all, and the rule of law.
Our Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act — and the powerful tools it has authorized — is an important step that demonstrates America’s unwavering commitment not only to the people of Hong Kong but also to establishing a balanced and sustainable long-term relationship with China.
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