WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today applauded the Senate’s unanimous agreement to include his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would extend a ban on the export of crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong Police Force.
The Senate’s move today comes as China’s ruling Communist Party’s new security law goes into effect—a serious escalation in the erosion of Hong Kongers’ rights and freedoms.
“The world is witnessing a series of flagrant attacks by the Chinese government on the freedom of Hong Kongers, and we can’t stay silent in the face of these brutal crackdowns on democracy,” said Merkley, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I’m pleased that this critical amendment is being included in the NDAA so that we as Americans are not complicit in Beijing’s efforts to strip Hong Kongers of their rights.”
In November 2019, Merkley teamed up with Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), to introduce and successfully pass a ban on the U.S. Export of crowd control munitions and equipment—including tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and more—to the Hong Kong Police Force. The legislation, also sponsored by 13 other bipartisan colleagues, followed reports that the Hong Kong Police Force was responding to peaceful protesters with increasing force. The NDAA amendment would extend the law’s original one year ban by an additional year.
The Senate’s action today also adopted an amendment Merkley helped advance to impose sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials involved in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.