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Support for Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

UPDATE: Incredible pictures and video on Instagram:

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You might think it’s #America Day in #HongKong after you see these photos and videos with so many American flags and a man dressed as the Statue of Liberty.🗽But it’s not. Scroll ahead to see for yourself. It’s thousands of Hong Kong citizens asking, pleading, demanding and hoping the U.S. Congress will take up and pass a bill to protect “basic freedoms” in this embattled city. 🇭🇰 It’s called the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Many Hong Kongers feel – and fear – Beijing is eroding them away. So they marched past the U.S. consulate Sunday in this 14th straight weekend of anti-government protests. Many see the U.S. as the only country in the world that has leverage over #China. 🇨🇳 Many would say they’re right. Many others would say it’s a mistake for the U.S. or any foreign power to get involved; especially with Beijing leveling accusations of foreign interference. Regardless, protestors are angry at their leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who they want to resign. They say she’s a puppet of Beijing, though she adamantly denies that. They’re angry at the police because of violent images of officers beating and pepper spraying people; they’re accused of police brutality and want an independent probe. That’s why they’re giving them the middle finger today. Yet police supporters would say they’ve been put in an impossible situation trying to uphold the law in the face of more violent protestors who are breaking that law. These people marching are people who are angry and they hope the #US and the world are taking notice. What do you think should happen? What do you think will happen? @CBSNews is here. We’ve been here ever since Week 1 – back on June 12th when our great team of @erinelyall and @cbs_randy and I were teargassed by police along with so many protestors – telling the #HongKong story. We are still here. #cbsnews #asia #international #news #reporting #history #bts #behindthescenes #american #flag #statueofliberty #middlefinger #protest

A post shared by Ramy Inocencio (@ramyinocencio) on

Ramy Inocencio, CBS, on Instagram

Today, protesters in Hong Kong marched to the U.S. Embassy to ask that Congress pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

South China Morning Post video posted to YouTube

The full text of the bill is here.

The bill has several sections, but the main points of the bill are to:

  • Affirm support of the Hong Kong people and their rights by the United States, including universal suffrage, the ability to freely choose and elect candidates for chief executive and other legislative positions, free speech and free press, and freedom from arbitrary arrests and detention.
  • Protect U.S. citizens from rendition (extradition) to countries, including mainland China, that do not have independent and fair legal systems.
  • Allow Hong Kong residents that have participated in protests, and have been arrested for participating in protests, to still obtain visas for travel to the U.S.
  • More strictly enforce U.S. customs regulations on items imported into Hong Kong, including items that might be or are used in constructing products used for mass surveillance or in the construction of China’s “social credit” system.
  • Encourage U.S. businesses to continue to operate in Hong Kong.
  • Identify persons involved in denying rights to Hong Kong citizens or involved in extra-legal renditions to mainland China and subject them to financial and other sanctions.

The Hong Kong people want and need the help of the United States in their fight for freedom and democracy. Public statements by U.S. Representatives and Senators are helpful, but this bill sends a message to Beijing and includes some measures to enforce that message. Passing it is a concrete action that the U.S. can take to back the people of Hong Kong. We support the passage of this bill completely. If Congress does pass the bill, President Trump should sign it into law, regardless of the status of any trade negotiations with China. The rights of the people of Hong Kong are more important than any trade deal, and any attempts to tie trade negotiations with enactment of the bill by Beijing should be ignored. Free Hong Kong!

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