U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Bill
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bill that aims at protecting the
human rights and autonomy and freedoms of Hong Kong, which sends a
message of hope to many pro-democracy protestors in the former British
colony handed back to China in 1997, while drawing condemnation from
Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s Bill, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act,
was passed on Tuesday evening, on the heel of violent siege of
Polytechnic University of Hong Kong by the Hong Kong Police Force.
world witnesses the people of Hong Kong standing up every day to defend
their long-cherished freedoms against an increasingly aggressive
Beijing and Hong Kong government. Their cries have been met with
violence, and young Hong Kong lives have tragically been lost,” Rubio
said in a statement. “Now more than ever, the United States must send a
clear message to Beijing that the free world stands with Hong Kongers in
student protestors threw petrol bombs and bricks, the police fired
thousands of rubber bullets and tear gases and hundreds of bean bag
round and sponge grenade, and threatened to use live ammunition. Video
footages circulating online captured the polices’ brutal treatments against the arrested student protestors.
5,000 people, with the youngest at just 12 years old and the oldest at
82, have been arrested to date, and hundreds of people have endured
broken bones, crushed skulls, and other injuries resulting from police brutality and “improportionate” use of force. Arbitrary arrests of women, white collar workers and children, and beatings behind closed doors have contributed towards the wide-spread distrust, fear and hatred towards the police force.
On the other hand, video footage showed a man being set alight on fire
after he criticized a group of masked people vandalizing the Hong Kong
metro stations. The 57-year-old man suffered second-degree burns on 28%
of his body. This incident has shocked both those in the pro-democracy
camps and the pro-beijing camps. On that day, a student protestor was
shot in the torso by a traffic police and shots fired into the crowd,
which was the second young adult shot with live ammunition by police.
About a week and half ago, a Christian student protestor died from
a fall from a second-story parking garage after police started chasing
and deploying tear gas against the demonstrators. While the cause is
unconfirmed and the demonstrators suspect the police were responsible,
the police spokesman has denied all wrongdoings.
Meanwhile, a 70-year-old street cleaner died after getting hit in the head with a brick
during a clash between black-clad protesters and opponents. While it is
not immediately clear who threw the brick, the police has classified
the death as murder.
footages of violence and news of deaths were shared widely on social
media in Hong Kong, and both sides have expressed saddness.
Bill, co-sponsored by over 50 other senators, will be passed to the
House of Representatives, which earlier also unanimously approved its
own version, and then the two chambers will need to reconcile the bill
before sending it on to President Donald Trump for signing or vetoing.
“Today, the United States Senate sent a clear message to Hong Kongers
fighting for their long-cherished freedoms: we hear you, we continue to
stand with you, and we will not stand idly by as Beijing undermines
your autonomy,” Rubio said. “The passage of this bill is an important
step in holding accountable those Chinese and Hong Kong government
officials responsible for Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy and human rights
violations. I thank Senator Cardin, Chairman Risch, and Ranking Member
Menendez for their strong partnership on this legislation, as well as
Leaders McConnell and Schumer for their support.”
and chair of human rights charity Hong Kong Watch, Ben Rogers told
Premier Christianity the Hong Kong government is to blame for the
escalating violence and called for it to “address the grievances and the
demands of the protesters”.
“We of course, condemn acts of violence by the students, but we also
have to understand that has been as a result of the desperation and
“It’s worth remembering that the violence really was started by the
police. The protests were entirely peaceful some months ago.”
“The government need to hold an independent inquiry into police
brutality, an inquiry that holds the police accountable for horrific
violence that they have carried out, but also to set out a plan for
political reform for universal suffrage for democracy.”
“If they don’t do that, the only way it’s going to end is I fear is
with an even more severe and bloody crackdown,” he told Premiere.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said following passage of the bill: “We have sent a message to President Xi (Jinping): Your suppression of freedom, whether in Hong Kong, in northwest China or in anywhere else, will not stand. You cannot be a great leader – and you cannot be a great country – when you oppose freedom, when you are so brutal to the people of Hong Kong, young and old, who are protesting.”