Posted Oct 16, 2019
The measure by Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., passed by voice vote. It would require the U.S. Secretary of State to certify each year whether Hong Kong should continue to receive its special treatment under U.S. law, require sanctions against individuals in either Hong Kong or China who crack down on the territory’s autonomy and freedoms, and make sure anyone arrested for participating in peaceful protests is not denied a visa to enter the U.S. because of it.
In addition, the bill would require the U.S. government to determine whether software and technology sold to Hong Kong has been transferred to China and used for surveillance or other actions designed to track the territory’s residents.
“The resolve, courage, tenacity and clarity of purpose of the people of Hong Kong shines through the darkness like the sun,” Smith said on the House floor. “I’ve heard it said that ‘the business of Hong Kong is business,’ but it is clear to me now that the business of Hong Kong is freedom and democracy.”
Smith has sought to pass similar legislation since 2014 but the ongoing Hong Kong protests and China’s efforts to suppress them provided the impetus needed for the legislation. A similar bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
Last month, Smith joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and some of the Hong Kong activists at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in September.
“Hong Kong will never walk alone,” protest leader Joshua Wong said at the time. “We will continue our uphill battle until the day we enjoy freedom and democracy.”