Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Senate urgently needs to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

This year, Hong Kong has seen pro-freedom demonstrations against a breakdown of the 1997 agreement of “one country, two systems.” These have occurred every weekend for the past five months. Last week, they didn't stop at the end of the weekend.

As the situation has intensified and police brutality has increased against peaceful protesters (and the media), and some have felt they have been left with no choice but to mount a reciprocal response in defense of their campuses and homeland, US Senators felt a renewed sense of urgency to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (H.R. 3289/S. 1838).

The legislation amends the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to take into account developments since then such as China's social credit system while reaffirming support for human rights, democracy, and autonomy for Hong Kong. China should keep its commitments to Hong Kong.

The House passed the legislation by voice vote on October 15.

Last week, after Senator Marco Rubio met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Thursday, the Senate initiated its hotline procedure to fast-track the legislation to passage. The process set the bill up for passage six hours later. The Senate adjourned an hour before that time was up, so passage has been pushed to the Senate's next legislative session which begins at 3 PM Monday. Therefore, estimated time of passage for legislation would be 4 PM.

This is all assuming no Senator objects to passage before then.

This legislation would make a big difference to the situation in Hong Kong. International leadership in favor of freedom and against oppression is needed at this time. There is no Second Amendment in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Police have been repeatedly and dehumanizingly referring to protesters as “cockroaches.” Some police are now openly expressing their desire to repeat the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989.

Among the latest, as of this writing, Hong Kong Police have announced their intent to begin using live ammunition. The Hong Kong police have surrounded Hong Kong Polytechnic University with hundreds inside in an all-night assault. Currently the entrance being on fire is preventing police from entering.

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