In a show of support for Hong Kong pro-democracy activists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) welcomed them to Capitol Hill on Sept. 18. The United States is sending a strong message to Beijing that American politicians support the protests. Pelosi thanked the activists for “challenging the conscience” of the Chinese regime and the world, reports The Associated Press.

Pelosi said it was imperative to support the activists, “if we do not speak up because of commercial interests in support of human rights in China, we lose all moral authority to speak up for them any other place in the world,” she said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on July 17, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told the activists, “America stands with you.”

Joshua Wong said it was “a remarkable day” to have the support of U.S. lawmakers.”We will continue our uphill battle until the day we enjoy freedom and democracy,” he said.

Hong Kong activists Joshua Wong (L) and Denise Ho, attend a Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing to examine developments in Hong Kong, on Sept. 17, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

On the previous day, Joshua Wong attended a congressional hearing in Washington, to give testimony on a review of developments of the political crisis in Hong Kong, reports VOA. Wong was there in support of democracy and human rights for the semiautonomous Chinese territory, and told U.S. lawmakers, “The stakes have never been higher.”

Activist Denise Ho, a celebrity actress, said, “The U.S. and its allies have everything to fear if they wish to maintain a world that is free, open and civil,” Ho said. “I, therefore, urge the U.S. Congress to stand by Hong Kong, and most of all, to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights Democracy Act. This is not a plea for so-called foreign interference. This is a plea for democracy. This is a plea for the freedom to choose.”

U.S. support of legislation that protects the rights of Hong Kongers will have a worldwide impact.

“If Hong Kong falls, it would easily become the springboard for the totalitarian regime of China to push its rules and priorities overseas, utilizing its economic powers to conform others to their communist values,” Ho added.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched peacefully through Hong Kong on Sept. 8. with many holding banners that read, “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong.” They were appealing to the United States to enact the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act when Congress resumes in September. The draft law, introduced to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in June, if passed, will punish any Hong Kong or Chinese officials in the city who attempt to suppress democracy.