TACOMA, Washington — People from Hong Kong have had their rights encroached upon by China and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong also faces multiple difficulties; 20% of its population lived in poverty before the pandemic. This challenges the standard of living in the region. The continuous violation of rights in Hong Kong has only further highlighted the challenges its residents face.
In light of the situation of Hong Kong’s people, a solid pro-democracy presence surfaced in elections and in the minds of residents in the region. As a result, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region disqualified 12 pro-democracy candidates in the 2020 elections. Hong Kong saw prolonged protests as a result. The protests called for democracy, a greater restoration of rights and increased global support.
Human Rights and Democracy Act
Under the Trump Administration, Congress passed the Human Rights and Democracy Act. The United States would now annually evaluate the autonomy of Hong Kong. The law was intended to highlight the “largely separate legal and economic system[s]” of Hong Kong and China despite Hong Kong’s status as a part of China. It paves the way for Hong Kong citizens to receive U.S. visas even for some who’ve been arrested while protesting.
Most of all, the focus of the law, rising as a product of the protests in Hong Kong, was to protect U.S. interests and prepare to reprobate China for human rights violations and rule of law concerns, if any were found. The Chinese government voiced a great degree of displeasure about the law. Nonetheless, it became a stepping stone to H.Res.130 in condemning the continued violation of rights in Hong Kong.
On February 18, 2021, Congressman Gregory Meeks introduced House Resolution 130. The resolution recognized the violation of rights in Hong Kong, planning to condemn the parties responsible overtly. Additionally, it voiced a desire to protect Hong Kong residents and ensure their ability to enjoy a high degree of autonomy. The resolution aligns with an ideology of freedom and autonomy, expressing deep concern for any intrusion of rights globally.
The House’s most recent motion on the resolution signaled support with 418 “Yeas” and only 1 “Nay” on April 19, 2021. Illustrated by the wide margin of the vote, the resolution was met with significant bipartisan support. It reaffirms the House’s condemnation of China and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for their actions.
For far too long, Hong Kong’s citizens have been subject to unlawful human rights violations. Many people in Hong Kong are frustrated and pleading for help. H.Res.130 and efforts like it suggest an increased American recognition of Hong Kong’s situation. American support for the rights of those living in Hong Kong continues with actions like these. Continued U.S. support also opens the possibility of other nations following in support to pressure the Chinese government and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to end the violation of rights in Hong Kong.
– James Van Bramer