U.S. lawmakers will move next week to begin passing legislation combating human rights abuses in Hong Kong, an action intended to send long-term support to democracy activists there.
If passed, the bill would allow President Donald Trump to use the Magnitsky Act to sanction Hong Kong and Chinese authorities for human rights abuses, while ensuring protesters are not denied entry visas to the United States and that Hong Kong is complying with U.S. sanctions and laws.
A Trump administration official told a Senate panel Wednesday the U.S. had already been successful in supporting the efforts of pro-democracy activists.
"I'll take a little credit, the U.S. government, on having applied sufficient pressure and encouraged Beijing to do the right thing in Hong Kong," David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
After months of protests, activists in Hong Kong succeeded in forcing the withdrawal of an extradition bill widely seen as an incursion by the mainland Chinese government. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in June to protest that legislation, fearing it would threaten the autonomy of the city and endanger dissidents.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam withdrew the bill in September but has not responded to activists' push for other demands, including amnesty for arrested protesters and an investigation into police brutality.
Source : VOA