FPI Resources on China’s Interference in Hong Kong

November 22, 2016

Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s High Court barred two politicians from taking their seats in the Legislative Council after they pledged allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” and displayed banners reading “Hong Kong is not China” at their swearing-in ceremony. The court’s ruling came as no surprise, as the Chinese government in Beijing intervened in the proceedings by declaring that Hong Kong’s de facto constitution bars lawmakers who do not read their oaths “completely and solemnly” from holding office.

This interference in Hong Kong’s affairs followed a period of increased pressure by Beijing, which worked to suppress pro-democracy and pro-independence activists before the former colony’s September 2016 legislative elections, and earlier abducted and detained five Hong Kong booksellers. The U.S. China Commission recently concluded that these efforts have resulted in a “chilling effect on the publication and distribution of politically sensitive books and books that have been banned in the Mainland,” and ultimately threaten “the maintenance of the ‘one country, two systems’ framework.”

In response to these developments, Congressional-Executive Commission on China co-chairs Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have each introduced legislation that authorizes punitive measures against Chinese officials who suppress democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.  The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) has repeatedly noted the deterioration of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong, and believes the following resources will help policymakers and lawmakers understand the importance of supporting the people of Hong Kong as China makes increasing inroads on everyday life there.

How the U.S. Can Help Curb Beijing's Suppression of Freedom in Hong Kong – FPI Senior Fellow Ellen Bork – The Weekly Standard – November 22, 2016

“Supporters of Hong Kong's rights and freedoms wanted to believe that autonomy could work. We continually pressed for Beijing to live up to promises despite obvious loopholes that let Beijing keep control over the chief executive, the legislature, and interpretation of the Basic Law. Not to mention constant smears and propaganda about Hong Kong's democrats as subversive ‘black hands’ and lackeys of the United States. If passed, the Cotton-Rubio legislation will reconcile the contradiction in U.S. policy by imposing consequences on officials in mainland China or Hong Kong who have thwarted the rule of law, democracy, and civil liberties.”

Supporting China’s Reformers and Dissidents – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) – Wall Street Journal – October 5, 2016

“History has shown us that it is the Chinese people who will be the primary agents of change in their country. But the U.S. must stand with China’s reformers and dissidents, the champions of the rule of law and the voices of liberty. A freer and more democratic China is in the interest of the U.S., the international community and the Chinese people. Fifteen years from now, we hope the commission’s work is obsolete. That day has not yet come.”

The Fight to Defend Democracy – Fred Hiatt – Washington Post – November 20, 2016

“Visiting Washington, [democracy activist Joshua] Wong helped remind us of a few things we’ve always known: that democracies are fragile, that the fight for freedom is never finished, that regimes in power will do almost anything to stay in power. But also this: that human beings in every culture and every nation share a desire for dignity and self-determination. That’s true in Burma, and South Africa, and Cuba — and the United States.”

U.S. Solidarity for Hong Kong – Editorial – Wall Street Journal – November 17, 2016

“Hong Kong democracy leader Joshua Wong was in Washington on Wednesday, where he met with Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi and Senators Tom Cotton and Marco Rubio, the latter of whom used the occasion to introduce the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. The more China violates its promise to respect Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy, the more this bill will gain support in Congress.”

China Cluelessly Turns Hong Kong Against It – Editorial – Washington Post – November 8, 2016

“Most people in Hong Kong were content to be part of China when they believed freedom of expression and the rule of law were guaranteed, and when local democratic rule was on the horizon. More will now reconsider. In willfully alienating them, the regime has traded a sullen short-term peace for long-term instability.”

Chinese Repression is Backfiring in Hong Kong – Editorial – Washington Post – September 6, 2016

“There is a deal to be made with the moderates, who seek only to compel China to fulfill its own promises about democracy in Hong Kong. But the four-year record of the Xi regime strongly suggests it will double down on repression, especially on the new pro-independence crowd. That would risk engendering a still greater backlash: According to one recent poll, 40 percent of Hong Kong youths between ages 15 and 24 support eventual independence. As Mr. Obama might observe, the arc of history in Hong Kong is not bending toward China’s Communists.”

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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