McConnell Stands With Hong Kong: The Chinese Communist Party Does Not Play By The Rules
‘Whether they are cracking down on Hong Kong, trying to cover up a pandemic, or herding ethnic and religious minorities into modern-day gulags, this generation of Chinese leadership is telling the rest of the world every single day exactly who they are.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Hong Kong:
“Now on an entirely different matter.
“These events only compound what has already been an historically challenging time for our country.
“As our nation continues to combat and contain the coronavirus, the Senate will continue to lead the response. To name one example, I hope and anticipate the Senate will soon take up and pass legislation that just passed the House by an overwhelming vote of 417-1 to further strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program, so it continues working for small businesses that need help.
“And even as we fight the pandemic, we will remember that other challenges face our nation as well. Foreign adversaries are all too eager to exploit a distracted world.
“In recent days, agents of the Chinese Communist Party have taken to social media to openly taunt the United States and defend their violent crackdown on the autonomy of Hong Kong.
“It’s been almost a year since the world watched Hong Kongers embark on the latest round of peaceful demonstrations against the repressive grip of the Chinese Communist Party.
“The world watched as Hong Kong voters, with American flags in hand, dealt crushing defeats to Beijing’s preferred puppet candidates in elections last fall.
“But in recent weeks, as the coronavirus pandemic that China exacerbated has dominated the world’s attention, the CCP is trying yet again to tighten their grip. New laws, supposedly related to national security, aim to stifle dissent and curtail Hong Kongers’ civil liberties.
“When I authored the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act back in 1992, we wanted to ensure future Chinese regimes would respect the promises made regarding this unique, autonomous region. So we made sure the weight and suasion of the United States of America could stand with Hong Kongers if need be.
“Unfortunately, these years later, such a time is upon us. Among other examples, we received word today that for the first time in 30 years, authorities in Hong Kong will not allow the annual candlelight vigil that commemorates the Tiananmen Square massacre to occur.
“For three decades, Hong Kong has been the only place in China where full-scale remembrances of the massacre are permitted. But now, they too will be going dark.
“So I am encouraged that Secretary Pompeo is tapping into that law to formally certify that Beijing’s systematic efforts to interfere in Hong Kong have eroded the region’s autonomy.
“This is exactly what we were concerned about back in 1992 when the Hong Kong Policy Act was introduced by me and became law. Exactly what we feared.
“And I hope that the administration will soon identify the specific ways it will impose costs on Beijing and, just as important, continue America’s support for the people of Hong Kong.
“Under my original legislation, several tools are available. Their primary aim is to be an effective friend and partner for Hong Kongers who share values of democracy and freedom, and to help preserve the region’s unique character, autonomy, and prosperity.
“Our nation’s commitment to these efforts must remain ironclad. And it must be 100% clear that the responsibility for threatening Hong Kong’s economic, political, and social climate rests solely and squarely on the Chinese Communist Party.
“The regime that views free thought as a fundamental evil. The regime that sees peaceful demonstration as an existential challenge. That is who is to blame for this, no matter what the CCP’s two-bit propagandists try to claim. Not the people of Hong Kong. Not their friends in the United States. Just the would-be tyrants in Beijing.
“Last year, as Congress passed Senator Rubio’s update to my Hong Kong Policy Act, I also secured additional funding to provide legal protection to Hong Kong protesters and support democracy promotion activities.
“But if China moves in the coming days and weeks to implement its draconian new laws that strangle Hong Kong, there will be no rule of law left for protesters to appeal to.
“That’s why the U.S. response should mirror those of other democracies who have opened their doors to Hong Kongers fleeing oppression. Our nation has a rich heritage of standing as a beacon of light and freedom, from refugees of war to those escaping the Iron Curtain. We should exercise it again for the people of Hong Kong.
“And finally, while we address these latest aggressions, we must also not miss the broader lessons.
“The Communist Party of China does not play by the rules. They don’t. Not the rules of the international economy. Not the rules of its bilateral agreements with other nations. Not even its own rules, which are increasingly subject to the whims of Xi Jinping.
“Whether they are cracking down on Hong Kong, trying to cover up a pandemic, or herding ethnic and religious minorities into modern-day gulags, this generation of Chinese leadership is telling the rest of the world every single day exactly who they are.
“America and the world have watched China deepen its tyranny at home, assert its hegemony abroad, and undermine basic norms that protect the peace. The question before us is what we will do to stop it.”
Related Issues: China, COVID-19, Small Business