Congress Unanimously Passes Hong Kong Autonomy Act
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (H.R. 7440), introduced by Ranking Member of the Asia Subcommittee Ted S. Yoho (R- FL) and Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), who formerly chaired the Asia Subcommittee. This was the House version of legislation first introduced by Senators Toomey and Van Hollen, to require the imposition of sanctions on foreign individuals and banks that participate in China’s oppression of Hong Kong.
Ahead of the 1997 handover by Great Britain, China guaranteed Hong Kong certain civil liberties for 50 years in a deal known as “One Country, Two Systems.” The new national security law imposed by Beijing this past week marked the end of this framework, outlawing subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with sentences up to life in prison.
The Hong Kong Autonomy Act requires the imposition of sanctions on Chinese individuals and banks who are included in an annual State Department list found to be subverting Hong Kong’s autonomy.
“Today, Congress has spoken strongly in favor of standing with the people of Hong Kong by unanimously passing the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and place mandatory sanctions on those responsible for undermining the territory’s guaranteed autonomous status.,” said Congressman Ted Yoho. “The Hong Kong we see today is unrecognizable from before, where “One Country, Two Systems” has been forcibly molded into ‘One Country, One System.’ This bill is a strong measure in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its abuses towards Hong Kong, and I join my colleagues in Congress from both parties in urging President Trump to sign this legislation.”
“I commend Speaker Pelosi for moving quickly to pass the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and commend Senators Toomey and Van Hollen for leading this effort, to address Beijing’s unilateral move to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong,” said Congressman Sherman. “Over the last year, we have seen Hong Kongers come to the streets in record numbers in response to mainland China’s actions -- the latest of which is nothing short of a complete violation of Hong Kong’s autonomy. No one in Hong Kong should face life in prison for going to the street to voice their opposition to their government’s decisions. We need to reject the recent actions by the Chinese Communist Party and impose consequences on Beijing for its actions towards Hong Kong.”