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Rubio, Merkley Issue Joint Statement Slamming the Ousting of Pro-Democracy Lawmakers in Hong Kong

Nov 11, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) issued the following joint statement following the ousting of four pro-democracy lawmakers from the Hong Kong Legislative Council:

“Democracy in Hong Kong is gasping for air. This morning, China’s unelected and unaccountable National People’s Congress Standing Committee took another grave step toward stripping the people of Hong Kong of their sacred rights and freedoms—this time by ousting Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok, and Kenneth Leung from the city’s Legislative Council,” Rubio and Merkley said. “These lawmakers were duly elected by their constituents, but forced out of their positions by a new directive from Beijing that disqualifies any advocate or supporter of Hong Kong’s autonomy—which Beijing promised to protect—from holding elected office.
“It is critical that the United States and all allies of freedom come together to recognize and condemn the undeniable and far reaching ramifications of this authoritarian powergrab, which has wiped out what little remained of Hong Kong’s democratic political system and violates China’s treaty obligations” Rubio and Merkley continued. “We stand in solidarity with the unseated public servants, their 15 colleagues who have resigned in protest of today’s crackdown, and all Hong Kongers who have stood up time and time again in the face of a brutal regime for the sake of their city and the values they hold dear. You are heard, seen, and supported around the world—and there will be consequences for Beijing’s actions.”
Senators Rubio and Merkley have been consistent advocates for supporting freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, including by championing the Rubio-Cardin Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (P.L. 116-76) and the Rubio-Merkley Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act. Rubio continues to stand in support of Hong Kongers as they defend their autonomy from China’s authoritarian grip. Earlier this year, Rubio and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) sent a letter to the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy offering to partner with the European Union (EU) and its member states on coordinated responses to the passage of Beijing’s draconian National Security Law and crushing of Hong Kong’s autonomy. 

Rubio and Merkley are members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and serve as co-chair and commissioner, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC).