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house Bill H. Res. 543

Should the House of Representatives Express its Support for the Pro-Democracy Hong Kong Protesters’ Demands?

Argument in favor

The Hong Kong protesters are trying to protect their city’s democracy from domination by communist China. As the world’s leading democratic nation, the U.S. should support those who seek democratic rights and values. Expressing the House’s solidarity with Hong Kong protesters and condemning the Chinese government’s attempts to portray them in a negative light or blame their actions on U.S. interference will confer legitimacy and international support to their movement.

Tracey's Opinion
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10/15/2019
Either support democracy and those striving for it or admit the rising Facism in the US. We can’t have both.
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Guy's Opinion
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10/15/2019
The pro democracy protesters are protesting with 🇺🇸 flags and the “president” is to busy whining about his problems to show his support! The House should step up!
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Lesia's Opinion
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10/15/2019
Absolutely. Our government should in no way support dictatorships ever.
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Argument opposed

The Chinese government rightly views Hong Kong as part of China. Under this logic, U.S. attempts to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs constitute meddling in China’s domestic affairs – which violates China’s sovereignty. Escalating tensions between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong isn’t worth it, and could destabilize the situation in Hong Kong even further, given the Chinese government’s existing suspicion about U.S. involvement in the protests.

Ronald's Opinion
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10/15/2019
Congress has begun their fake "impeachment inquiry". Congress must settle this, and get over their impeachment insanity before any other business.
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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10/15/2019
No, the House of Representatives of the United States should show that they stand with the people they are representing. They should take seriously the needs of the US, and not waste time on foriegn affairs. Let the House of Representatives of the UN look into the needs of those in Hong Kong.
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Robert j.'s Opinion
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10/15/2019
Our moral authority is looking a bit low right now.
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simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedAugust 30th, 2019

What is House Bill H. Res. 543?

This resolution would express the House of Representatives' support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. It would also express the House’s support for all five of the protesters' key demands. Additionally, this resolution would call on the Hong Jong government to protect the rights of freedom of expression and to peaceful assembly. It would also condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s violation of Hong Kong’s autonomy and the Chinese government’s attempts to characterize the Hong Kong protests as riots. Finally, it would criticize the Chinese and Hong Kong governments’ attempts to blame the political instability in Hong Kong on the U.S.

Hong Kong protestors’ five key demands are:

  1. Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill that originally sparked the protests;
  2. Universal suffrage in local elections to ensure Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy; 
  3. An investigation into the Hong Kong Police’s excessive use of force against the demonstrators;
  4. Release of those who have been arrested during the protests; and
  5. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation.

Impact

The House; U.S.-China relationship; China; Hong Kong; and Hong Kong protestors.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 543

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced this resolution to express the House’s support for the people of Hong Kong in their demonstration efforts:

“The millions of people who have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to demand their democratic rights have been an inspiration to us all. This resolution puts the House of Representatives on record as supporting the goals and aspirations of the peaceful protestors in Hong Kong. The world is watching.”

In a letter to his Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this resolution, Rep. Sherman argued that Congress has a responsibility to support Hong Kongers: 

“Support for democratization and human rights are fundamental principles of U.S. foreign policy. The United States Congress has a responsibility to support the residents of Hong Kong, condemn the use of force against the peaceful demonstrations, denounce efforts by the Hong Kong and Chinese Governments to characterize the demonstrations as ‘riots’ and blame the United States for involvement in the political instability they alone created, and share the concerns of the people of Hong Kong regarding China’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) adds:

“With authoritarianism and instances of human rights abuses on the rise across the globe, our friends in Hong Kong need our support at this critical juncture. Core democratic values and the fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in a free and just society are at stake and the future of an autonomous Hong Kong hangs in the balance. The people of Hong Kong are rightly protesting government-sanctioned brutalities and violations of democracy. We stand with them in their fight for basic democratic rights.”

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Asia Subcommittee, contends that this resolution is key to a strong U.S.-Hong Kong relationship:

“The current situation in Hong Kong has shed light on the abuses by the Chinese Communist Party in the autonomous, self-governing region of Hong Kong. China has a track record of refusing to honor previous agreements, and this case is no different. The international community must continue to support the people of Hong Kong’s right to protest and show China that this behavior is unacceptable. This bi-partisan, multi-faceted resolution is an important step in supporting a strong U.S.-Hong Kong relationship and recognizing that the human rights of the people of Hong Kong are of great importance to the United States.”

In a July 2019 op-ed in the South China Morning Post, Ronny K. W. Tong, QC, SC, JP, a former chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association and convenor of the Path of Democracy, argued that the Hong Kong government has already met protesters’ demands halfway. He urged both sides to reconcile, rather than dig in: 

“The truth of the matter is that, of the five demands, the government has responded to most, and has in fact taken a step back or two on some. Viewed in this light, it is fair to say the government has reached out a hand of conciliation. But reconciliation can only be achieved by both sides. What more is there to be gained in continuing the current discord? We are already standing on the edge of the abyss of chaos. Our overall interest is, by no exaggeration, hanging in the balance. Is it not time to call a halt to things and give peace a chance? We all make mistakes and the important thing is that a lesson has been learnt. It is time to heal the wound and look forward. After all, reconciliation is not a sin.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has defended the Hong Kong police force and her government’s response to the protests

“The Hong Kong police force is a highly professional and civilized force. I would challenge every politician to ask themselves if the large extent of violence acts and all those petrol bombs and arson and really deadly attacks on policeman happened in their own country, what would they do?”

Tang Ping-keung, Hong Kong’s deputy commissioner of police, expressed similar sentiments. He also argued that the violence against police has reached a critical level: 

“Violence against police has reached a life-threatening level. They are not protesters, they are rioters and criminals. Whatever cause they are fighting for it never justifies such violence.”

On Sunday, October 13, 2019, while protesters in Hong Kong returned to the streets for a 19th consecutive weekend, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that any attempt to split China will “end in crushed bodies and shattered bones.” Although Xi didn’t explicitly name Hong Kong in his comments, his references to "separatists" and "external forces" echoed previous language used by Beijing when talking about protests in Hong Kong. 

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that Xi said during a state visit to Nepal, “Anyone attempting separatist activities in any part of China will be crushed and any external force backing such attempts will be deemed by the Chinese people as pipe-dreaming.”

This resolution unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee with the support of 21 bipartisan cosponsors, including 13 Democrats and eight Republicans. 


Of NoteHong Kong was guaranteed 50 years of freedoms under the “one country, two systems” formula when Britain returned it to China in 1997. Last year, a failed attempt to create a China extradition bill, which could have sent Hong Kongers to trial in Communist Party-controlled courts, was seen as the latest attempt to reduce those freedoms. This ignited what has now become months of protests, with some protests attracting millions into the streets. 


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / angusho)

AKA

Stand with Hong Kong Resolution

Official Title

Recognizing Hong Kong's bilateral relationship with the United States, condemning the interference of the People's Republic of China in Hong Kong's affairs, and supporting the people of Hong Kong's right to protest.

    Either support democracy and those striving for it or admit the rising Facism in the US. We can’t have both.
    Like (18)
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    The pro democracy protesters are protesting with 🇺🇸 flags and the “president” is to busy whining about his problems to show his support! The House should step up!
    Like (17)
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    Not that China will care!
    Like (11)
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    What does it fucken matter China will still do want it wants under its cloak and dagger style. All they do is flood our country with shit products, just look at and store. So this vote means not a thing to them it’s more of a joke,
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    Absolutely. Our government should in no way support dictatorships ever.
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    Yes!
    Like (5)
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    And I support a pro-democracy movement here at home.
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    All forms of Marxism needs to vanish, especially China, the strategic enemy that we have decided to fund. Maybe it’s the same thing as how we kept feeding the USSR during the Cold War when we could have collapsed their economy in a heart beat by simply not sending them food.
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    PRC should keep its promise to keep the democratic system and universal value of human rights to the people in Hong Kong.
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    We should express support for Democracy and the freedom of speech in Hong Kong. China's efforts to censor, obstruct, and suppress cannot be allowed. I don't want to go to war with China or anything (we already have a trade war), but we can't just sit quietly by and watch this from afar, or we will be complicit.
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    Anywhere there are people wanting Democracy we should support them
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    No, the House of Representatives of the United States should show that they stand with the people they are representing. They should take seriously the needs of the US, and not waste time on foriegn affairs. Let the House of Representatives of the UN look into the needs of those in Hong Kong.
    Like (3)
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    This is a good thing to stand with Hong King, BUT IT IS GOING TO SEEM LIKE A HOLLOW STAND WITH WHAT TRUMP DID TO OUR ALLIES, the KURDS. Our voice standing with anyone or any country will not bring concern by any country anymore until Trump is out of office. Even then it will take years to get our CLOUT BACK
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    By recognizing the bilateral relationship, the United States reconfirm that Hong Kong is an international City. We make our stance clear that we expect Hong Kong to have high autonomy under one country two system. And if such bilaterally relationship and autonomy do not exist, the city should not have the preferential tax treatment versus China. China has been violating human rights without any consequences for decades and its time to stop that. With it’s rising power, if we do not take action now, a lot more countries will be bended towards the totalitarian capitalism model, leaving our country isolated.
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    Congress has begun their fake "impeachment inquiry". Congress must settle this, and get over their impeachment insanity before any other business.
    Like (3)
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    Defend all who seek democracy! (Unless it does not benefit a dictator, per our president’s actions)
    Like (2)
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    Everyone has a responsibility to stand up for freedom and democracy worldwide
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    This will reaffirm our relationship with Hong Kong and count our our global relationship and growth.
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    Yes, but Putin's Puppet won't say a thing. After his handing over the Kurds to be slaughtered by the Turks (because Trump Towers in Turkey! and Putin's orders) and driving the Kurds into allying with the Russians, why would he have anything supportive of democracy to say to the Chinese? Or anyone for that matter? He believes in dictatorships, not the Constitution and certainly not in Democracy.
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    Our moral authority is looking a bit low right now.
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