As pro-democracy campaigners in Hong Kong continue to battle with police striving to restore public order, The Hong Kong Human Rights Act and Democracy Act has passed US Congress and Senate committees, and now heads to the White House for signature. The legislation-tracking service Govtrack gives the legislation a 77% chance of being signed.
Section 5 of the proposed Act holds among other things that, no later than six months (180 days) of its enactment, the secretaries of the departments of Commerce, Treasury and State, report on the nature and extent of any violations of US export control and sanctions laws in Hong Kong, identifying items reexported in violation of such laws, and give an assessment of whether sensitive dual-use items are being transhipped through Hong Kong, and used to develop systems of ‘mass surveillance and predictive policing.’
It also provides that the US president shall, ‘…submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees… that identifies each foreign person that the President determines is responsible for
A the extrajudicial rendition, arbitrary detention, or torture of any person in Hong Kong; or
B other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong.’
Senator Marco Rubio, the bill’s sponsor said, ‘As over one million Hong Kongers take to the streets protesting amendments to the territory’s extradition law, the U.S. must send a strong message that we stand with those peacefully advocating for freedom and the rule of law and against Beijing’s growing interference in Hong Kong affairs.’
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the act ‘remains blind on facts,’ and that it ‘neglects facts and truth, applies double standards and interferes in China’s internal affairs, including Hong Kong affairs. It is in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China strongly condemns and firmly opposes it.’