Washington D.C. – Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Republican Leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee hearing on the Chinese Communist Party’s national security law for Hong Kong. 

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you Madam Speaker for being here today. That shows how important this hearing is. You have been a steadfast champion of human rights and democracy around the world and if we don’t – you’re right, if we don’t have moral authority here, we have it nowhere. And I think it means a lot to us on both sides of the aisle that you have taken the time from your busy day to be here and to be in our presence.

“Today is the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to the Chinese Communist Party. Under the Sino-British Treaty that set up this handover the people of Hong Kong were promised one country, two systems, where they could be allowed some level of autonomy. The one country, two systems approach worked well for many years, but recently the CCP began to rapidly erode this system by peeling away the rights and freedoms guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong. And then yesterday the CCP took a sledgehammer to one country, two systems by passing sweeping so-called national security legislation that strips away the autonomy of Hong Kongers, violating the terms of the Sino-British treaty.

“They view democracy, individual liberty, and free markets as a threat and have declared war on each. Unfortunately this wasn’t the CCP’s only act of brutal suppression we learned about this week. On Monday the world was made aware the Chinese Communist Party is using forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coercive family planning against ethnic minorities including the Uighur Muslims. It is clear the CCP does not care about the people of China, they only care about preserving their own power. And by brutally suppressing democracy in Hong Kong, the CCP is challenging the underlying assumptions that have guided the world since the end of the Cold War. We sit here, as the Speaker said, not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans united in our strong support for Hong Kong.

“This is a battle between democracy and dictatorship, between liberty and tyranny, and between freedom and oppression, and it is a battle that the world must win. And I’d like to take this opportunity to speak directly to the people of Hong Kong. America stands with you and America will always support you. Last year when we heard you sing our national anthem and when we saw you carrying our American flag, we knew and we know that you were telling us we are not two people but one, both united in our belief in freedom and democracy for all. Today is not just the anniversary of the first handover of Hong Kong to the CCP, it’s also the one year anniversary of a heroic act by one of our witnesses here today, Brian Leung.

“One year ago today during demonstrations in Hong Kong, Mr. Leung gave a moving speech where he reveals his identity, subjecting himself to significant prosecution. I’ve met another one of our witnesses, Nathan Law, last year when we passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. He is an incredible young man who along with other democracy activists like Joshua Wong are risking their safety and security every day to fight for freedom. They are all commendable and I am grateful to have them with us here today. As Chairman Engel and I said in a letter earlier this year, quote “it is critical that the United States use the available tools under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and other authorities to make clear Beijing – to Beijing that its violations of international commitments and its commitments to the people of Hong Kong will have consequences.”

“And I urge the administration to issue the sanctions authorized by this Congress. With this hearing today we have this opportunity. America stands in solidarity with the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong and will continue to be a beacon of hope for all those fighting for democracy around the world. So with that Mr. Chairman I thank you and I yield back.”