Cotton, Colleagues Reintroduce Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Jim Risch (R-Indiana) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) today reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, bipartisan legislation that would reaffirm U.S. commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law at a time when Hong Kong's autonomy is under assault by interference from the Chinese government and Communist Party.
Co-sponsors include Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts). Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Maine) and Representative Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) introduced companion legislation in the House.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would:
- Require the Secretary of State to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong's autonomy to justify special treatment afforded to Hong Kong by the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.
- Require the President to identify persons responsible for the abductions of Hong Kong booksellers and journalists and those complicit in suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, including those complicit in the forced removal of individuals exercising internationally recognized rights to mainland China for detention or trial, and to freeze their U.S.-based assets and deny them entry to the United States.
- Require the President to issue a strategy to protect U.S. citizens and businesses from the implications of a revised Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, including by determining whether to revise the U.S.-Hong Kong extradition agreement and the State Department's travel advisory for Hong Kong.
- Require the Secretary of Commerce to issue an annual report assessing whether the Government of Hong Kong is adequately enforcing both U.S. export regulations regarding sensitive dual-use items and U.S. and U.N. sanctions, particularly regarding Iran and North Korea.
- Make clear that visa applicants 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 pro-democracy advocacy, human rights, or the rule of law in Hong Kong.