This bill — the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act — would reaffirm the U.S. commitment to democracy, human rights, and autonomy of Hong Kong and aim to prevent the People’s Republic of China from undermining Hong Kong’s rights. It would require the administration to develop a strategy for protecting U.S. citizens and businesses from risks posed by Hong Kong allowing extradition to China, which would include revisions to the U.S.-Hong Kong extradition agreement or a State Dept. travel advisory.
The administration would be required to identify persons responsible for the abduction of Hong Kong booksellers and journalists and those complicit in suppressing basic freedoms, in addition to people complicit in the rendition of individuals to mainland China for trial or detention. Persons involved in such repression would be barred from entering the U.S. and all of their U.S.-based assets would be frozen.
The Secretary of State would be required to make an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy (including free and open elections) to justify special export & trade treatment current federal law grants Hong Kong. The Secretary of Commerce would be required to issue an annual report assessing whether Hong Kong is adequately enforcing both U.S. export regulations related to sensitive dual-use items and sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the United Nations, particularly those on Iran and North Korea.
Additionally, this bill would:
- Clarify that visa applicants shouldn’t be denied visas based on the applicant’s arrest, detention, or other adverse government action taken as a result of their participation in the non-violent, pro-democracy advocacy, human rights, or the rule of law in Hong Kong.
- Express the sense of Congress that the federal government should consider export controls on crowd control and surveillance equipment to Hong Kong (such as those used in China’s social credit system).
- Express that Congress condemns the Chinese government’s use of state-controlled media to harass & intimidate pro democracy protesters and spread false information about its perceived enemies in Hong Kong. It would also call on the Secretary of State to consider denying work or travel visas to officials and journalists from such state-controlled media organizations.
- Coordinate with the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea regarding U.S. policy.