Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act
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|Long title||To amend the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 and for other purposes.|
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 was proposed (as a bill) since 2017 by Chris Smith, the chairman of Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and Marco Rubio, the co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. The bill has bipartisan support and has been re-introduced each year since.
The stated purpose of this bill, if become law, will be "to renew the historical commitment of the United States to uphold freedom and democracy in Hong Kong at a time when its autonomy is increasingly under assault." The proposed legislation will also "establish punitive measures against government officials in Hong Kong or mainland China who are responsible for suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, especially in connection with the abduction of certain booksellers."
According to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, when the Government of the United Kingdom effected the renunciation of British sovereignty over Hong Kong and implemented the transfer of sovereignty in favor of China on July 1, 1997, Beijing promised Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy guaranteed. However, according to the Act,"Beijing has consistently undermined the ‘one country, two systems' principle and infringed on the autonomy the residents of Hong Kong are supposed to be guaranteed."
The text of the act states:
- Reaffirm the principles set forth in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, including support for democratization, human rights, and the importance of Hong Kong remaining sufficiently autonomous from China to justify different treatment under U.S. law.
- Reinstate the requirement for the Secretary of State to issue a report on conditions in Hong Kong of interest to the United States, including developments related to democratic institutions in Hong Kong, no later than 90 days after enactment and every year through 2023.
- Require the Secretary of State to certify that Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous before enacting any new laws or agreements affording Hong Kong different treatment from the People’s Republic of China.
- Require the President to identify persons responsible for the surveillance, abduction, detention, or forced confessions of certain booksellers and journalists in Hong Kong, and other actions suppressing basic freedoms, and to freeze their U.S.-based assets and deny them entry into the U.S.
- Make clear that visa applicants who resided in Hong Kong in 2014 shall not be denied visas on the basis of the applicant’s arrest, detention or other adverse government action taken as a result of their participation in the nonviolent protest activities related to Hong Kong's electoral process.
- "Cotton, Rubio Introduce Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act". United States Senate. November 16, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2017. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Commissioners Reintroduce The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act". Congressional-Executive Commission on China. June 13, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.