Rubio: One Year Later, It’s Unacceptable That Obama Administration Has Yet To Stand Up For Hong Kong
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), today issued the following statement regarding the one year anniversary of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong:
“A year ago tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents peacefully gathered in the streets, yellow umbrellas in hand, to demand electoral reforms and greater democracy. While the Umbrella Movement has not yet achieved universal suffrage, its participants inspired what I hope will be looked back on as a watershed moment that marked Hong Kong’s political awakening by tapping into the yearning for true democracy – a desire which has become more acute as Beijing’s grip has tightened.
“The Umbrella Movement was the biggest political protest on Chinese soil since Tiananmen Square, but the Obama Administration inexplicably failed to stand with the people of Hong Kong. As it has done so many times before on human rights issues, the Obama Administration’s public statements and actions during the movement’s 79 days were marked by equivocation that put America on the wrong side of history and ran afoul of longstanding U.S. policy, enshrined in the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. That law stipulates U.S. support for Hong Kong’s autonomy and the basic human rights of its people. During the protests and in the months that have followed, the American consulate in Hong Kong has gone so far as to even avoid meeting with the very student leaders who were at the forefront of the movement. These brave young activists represent Hong Kong’s future and the future of millions of young people like them on the Chinese mainland.
“Last week Martin Lee, Benny Tai and Joshua Wong — three generations of prominent pro-democracy activists — visited Washington at the same time that Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping was here being honored by President Obama at the White House. The visions these two delegations represent are a study in contrasts. While Xi tightens his grip on power, clamps down on civil society and silences dissent – he was feted at the White House – Lee, Tai, and Wong peacefully championed the aspirations of freedom-loving people the world over, and were not welcomed at the White House.
“A pro-democracy newspaper in Hong Kong ran a front page editorial recently which noted that while civil society is still recovering from the protests, the movement is far from over: ‘We will put away our umbrellas so that one day we can reopen them.’ America must stand with these courageous activists and the thousands more they represent as they mark this significant anniversary and continue to seek freedom and democracy.”