WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday announced that he cosponsored the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. Originally introduced by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the bill requires the president to identify officials responsible for suppressing basic human rights in Hong Kong and freeze their assets or deny them entry to the United States. Since the protests kicked off in June over an extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China to face trial, protestors in Hong Kong have taken to the streets. After months of persistent mass protests, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong said she would withdraw the controversial bill in September. Protesters continue to press for their four remaining demands to protect their autonomy from mainland China and hold violators of human rights accountable.

“In the face of the most powerful police state in the world, the people of Hong Kong have continued to protest for democratic rights and against the creeping authoritarian influence from Beijing. President Trump once again betrayed American values by telling China he would stay silent on the repression of Hong Kong’s protests if China stayed in trade negotiations. Brave pro-democracy protesters should be seen as America’s best friends—people who are risking everything for basic freedoms in a totalitarian state. There’s no better way to challenge China’s unfair trade model than to promote the rights of its citizens, and that’s exactly why I’m glad to support this important legislation,” said Murphy.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act would:

  • Require the Secretary of State to issue an annual certification of Hong Kong’s autonomy to justify special treatment afforded to Hong Kong by the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992;
  • Require the President to identify persons responsible for the abductions of Hong Kong booksellers and journalists and those complicit in suppressing basic freedoms in Hong Kong, including those complicit in the forced removal of individuals exercising internationally recognized rights to mainland China for detention or trial, and to freeze their U.S.-based assets and deny them entry to the United States;
  • Require the President to issue a strategy to protect U.S. citizens and businesses from the implications of a revised Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, including by determining whether to revise the U.S.-Hong Kong extradition agreement and the State Department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong;
  • Require the Secretary of Commerce to issue an annual report assessing whether the Government of Hong Kong is adequately enforcing both U.S. export regulations regarding sensitive dual-use items and U.S. and U.N. sanctions, particularly regarding Iran and North Korea; and
  • Make clear that visa applicants shall not be denied visas on the basis of the applicant’s arrest, detention or other adverse government action taken as a result of their participation in the nonviolent protest activities related to pro-democracy advocacy, human rights, or the rule of law in Hong Kong.