This past fall, protestors in Hong Kong took to the streets against the communist Chinese regime based in Beijing. The people of Hong Kong were fighting a piece of legislation that would allow China to extradite fugitives to mainland China. Their fear is that this bill would be used as an avenue for the Chinese government to take political advocates, like those who are pro-democracy, out of Hong Kong. Eventually, these protests turned into pro-democracy marches, with supporters waving the American flag, a worldwide symbol of freedom.
In an attempt to pressure China to back down, President Trump signed two pieces of legislation into law, S. 1838 or The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and S. 2710. S. 1838 requires the government to annually review the special treatment Hong Kong receives from the United States and gives the President the ability “to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on those who are found to be knowingly responsible for threatened or carried out arbitrary detention, torture, forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong, or other violations of internationally recognized human rights in the former British colony.” S. 2710 simply prevents handcuffs, teargas, and rubber bullets from being exported to the Hong Kong police force.
As President Trump said after signing these bills into law:
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”
Sadly, this reconciliation didn’t happen and China’s National People’s Congress passed a security law criminalizing succession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion in Hong Kong. The security law not only violates China’s promise to Great Britain that Hong Kong would be free and open until 2047, but it also ends the judicial independence and many freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong. The legislation went into effect on June 30, 2020.
But yet again, the President responded with force against China. On Tuesday, July 14, 2020 President Trump signed into law H.R. 7440 or the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which imposes sanctions on Chinese officials or companies that backed the new security law. Secondly, President Trump signed an Executive Order ending the preferential treatment Hong Kong received over mainland China. For example, the order revokes special treatment for Hong Kong passport holders and ends Hong Kong’s benefits of U.S. exports.
The President is right to respond with such force against Chinese control of Hong Kong. It is vital that our great country continue its legacy of as a beacon of freedom, democracy, and hope. We can only hope that China will respond by easing the security law and loosen its grip on Hong Kong.