Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which passed both chambers of Congress with broad bipartisan support:
“The passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act today will once again demonstrate our support for the people of Hong Kong. The House passed our version of the bill several weeks ago, and this version passed the Senate last night as well, demonstrating without a doubt that the U.S. Congress stands with the people of Hong Kong even during a particularly troubling time.
“We are seeing the escalation of violence in unprecedented ways, indiscriminate use of force against students, and troubling reports of Chinese forces directing and manipulating the security forces in Hong Kong.
“However, as Joshua Wong said when he was last here with us on Capitol Hill, just a few weeks ago, the ‘people of Hong Kong will never walk alone.’ That’s a quote. Never has this been truer than today.
“Although the abuses and injustices that have been endured by the people of Hong Kong are clear and evident to everyone, the policy challenge that this presents for the United States is far more nuanced.
“It is my expectation that when implementing this legislation, the Secretary of State will understand Congressional intent that this legislation is designed to help the U.S. government and the U.S. Congress better evaluate the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy, and ultimately stem the tide of China’s aggressive behavior toward the people of Hong Kong.
“Our objective is not to punish Hong Kong, but to help preserve and protect Hong Kong’s autonomy in the face of Beijing’s flagrant disregard for ‘one country, two systems’ As such, we believe it is in the national security interest of the United States to protect the autonomy of Hong Kong.
“It is with that intent that this entire legislative exercise has been undertaken. I hope that in evaluating how to apply the mandates in this bill, this Administration—and any future Administration—will give the best interests of the people of Hong Kong the highest consideration.”
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