WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after China’s ruling Communist Party moved to impose a new security law to strip away critical freedoms in Hong Kong:
“Today is a dark day for Hong Kong and the world. Any illusion that China honors its obligations to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy is shattered by this undemocratic power grab. This is a flagrant violation of China’s binding treaty obligations to respect its 1984 Joint Declaration with Britain, as well as the requirements of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
“If the National People’s Congress goes through with this brazen assault on Hong Kong’s political autonomy, it will have substantial international reverberations that could greatly damage the special position Hong Kong holds and its economic prosperity. I will continue to stand with Hong Kong’s brave champions of political freedom, as I did last year in pushing for passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and writing the law that bans the U.S. export of crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police.
“This should also serve as a wake-up call for our global community that authoritarian enemies of freedom the world over will use the pandemic as cover to abuse human rights and crack down on basic liberties. We cannot stay silent in the face of these attacks on the freedoms we all cherish and deserve.”
Senator Merkley has been a consistent advocate for supporting freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. Last fall, Senator Merkley successfully passed legislation to ban the export of crowd control munitions to Hong Kong in an effort to help protect peaceful protesters during the ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations. Earlier this month, Senator Merkley teamed up with Senator Todd Young (R-IN) in a bipartisan effort to press the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a strategy to protect human rights around the globe, including in Hong Kong, during the coronavirus pandemic.