A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced legislation calling on the Biden administration to impose sanctions on 49 top Hong Kong justice officials and judges for whittling away basic rights.
The Hong Kong Sanctions Act (H.R. 6153) aims to hold Hong Kong officials accountable for human rights violations and stand with Hong Kongers facing scrutiny under Beijing’s “national security law.”
Representatives Young Kim (CA-40), Jim McGovern (MA-02), and John Curtis (UT-03) introduced the Bill, Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
The Hong Kong Sanctions Act requires the president to determine whether certain Hong Kong officials violated human rights and sanctions should be imposed in accordance with the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, or the Hong Kong Autonomy Act.
Read the bill HERE.
The bill is backed by Rep. Young Kim, a Republican from California, Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat from Massachusetts and Rep. John Curtis, a Republican from Utah, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon and Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska.
Merkley, who is also the co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, told Radio Free Asia that the bill is meant to send a message to the Chinese government that the United States does not accept the further erosion of rights in Hong Kong.
The United States reportedly barred Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee – who last month called for the remaining “undercurrents” of dissent to be wiped out – from attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco later this month.
That is despite demands from Beijing that Lee be allowed to attend the summit, with foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning saying in July that as the APEC host country “has a responsibility and obligation to allow all member representatives to attend the meeting smoothly.”
Hong Kong, for its part, has insisted that its leader was invited to San Francisco in the end, but chose not to attend due to a full calendar.
“Due to scheduling issues, the Chief Executive would not be able to attend the meeting to represent Hong Kong, China in person, and has appointed the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, to attend the meeting on behalf of the Chief Executive,” it said in a statement.