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US lawmakers condemn China's authoritarian grip on Hong Kong


Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Top American lawmakers on Thursday said that the Chinese efforts to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong threatens to erode its autonomy and the freedom that Hongkongers cherish.

US President Donald Trump said that he will address the issue when it happens.

"I don't know what it is because nobody knows yet. If it happens, we'll address that issue very strongly, Trump told reporters when asked about his views on Chinese parliament poised to pass a national security law cracking down on Hong Kong.

We'll have to see what happens. I haven't seen it yet. I've got a little briefing. But I'll have a statement to make at the appropriate time. Hong Kong's been through a lot, Trump said in response to a question in Michigan where he was travelling.

However, top American lawmakers alleged that based on preliminary reports, the proposed law could criminalise protests and other freedoms under the guise of banning terrorism and foreign interference.

By proposing national security laws for Hong Kong, the Chinese government and Communist Party will push Hong Kong's autonomy to the breaking point, Senator Marco Rubio said.

Congress provided the US government with powerful tools when it passed my bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and the administration should use this law to hold Beijing accountable for its interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs and violations of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It is in the interest of the United States to respond swiftly to Beijing's repeated attacks on Hong Kongers, their autonomy, and their basic rights, he said.

Senator Josh Hawley announced he will introduce a resolution condemning China's proposed "sweeping national security law" in Hong Kong that would ban subversion, sedition, and succession.

China's plan to circumvent Hong Kong's independent legal system with a far reaching, oppressive national security law is dangerous and in complete disregard of the principles of the one country, two systems, Senator Ben Cardin said.

Beijing's proposed national security law threatens to erode Hong Kong's autonomy and the freedoms that Hong Kongers cherish. Based on preliminary reports, the law could criminalize protests and other freedoms under the guise of banning terrorism and foreign interference, said a joint statement issued by Congressmen Darin LaHood and Rick Larsen, co-chairs of the bipartisan US-China Working Group.

China's plan must be met with criticism from the United States and all countries that share America's values of freedom of expression, rule of law, and accountable government, they said.

In another joint statement Senators Rubio, Jim Risch, Chairman of the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations, and Cory Gardner that the proposed law will begin an unprecedented assault against Hong Kong's autonomy.

The Basic Law states clearly that the authority to advance Article 23 legislation rests with the executive and legislative branches of the Hong Kong government, and not with Beijing. The Chinese government is once again breaking its promises to the people of Hong Kong and the international community, they alleged.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, May 22 2020. 06:58 IST