A sea of tens of thousands of Hongkongers, many holding banners that read, “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong,” and chanting “free Hong Kong, democracy now,” marched peacefully through the city on Sept. 8, appealing to the United States to enact the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act when Congress resumes in September. The draft law was introduced to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in June, and the bill, if passed, will punish any Hong Kong or Chinese officials in the city who attempt to suppress democracy.
Eve Chen, a 50-year-old admin officer, told HKFP that she believed the bill would provide Hong Kong with a level of international protection: “China doesn’t protect us, and Hong Kong is just a small place. And the rule of law here is well-known. We cannot protect ourselves. That’s why we need international help,” she said. “I can’t see Hong Kong become like this. This is not my Hong Kong.”
Felix Cheung, a 27-year-old arborist, told HKFP that he would like to see sanctions imposed on police chief Stephen Lo and Chief Executive Carrie Lam. “We need international help to protect our human rights and stand up against the government for violating those rights in Hong Kong,” he added.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned Beijing that any crackdown against the protesters will result in “real and painful” costs, in an op-ed Wall Street Journal in August. “Sooner or later, the rest of the world will have to do what the protesters are doing—confront Beijing.”
The Chinese increased pursuit of authority and domestic oppression are the cause of the Hong Kong turmoil, he said. “Years ago, it was reasonable to think that China’s rapid development and integration into the global economy might lead it to embrace prevailing international rules, that success would give Beijing a stake in the systems that uphold peace and prosperity. Now it is clear the Communist Party wants to write its own rules and impose them on others,” he said, referring to Beijing’s suppression of freedoms in Tibet and Xinjiang.
U.S. House Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said he plans to introduce legislation to halt the U.S. sale of police control equipment and munitions to the Hong Kong police force. He tweeted on Aug. 13, “Due to the excessive use of force & lack of restraint by Hong Kong authorities, I will soon introduce legislation to suspend U.S. sales of munitions, police & crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong police.” This comes closely on the heels of the UK suspension of all licenses for the sale of crowd control equipment. “We remain very concerned with the situation in Hong Kong,”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs in parliament’s lower House of Commons, “And we will not issue any further export licenses for crowd control equipment to Hong Kong unless we are satisfied that concerns raised on human rights and fundamental freedoms have been thoroughly addressed,” reports HKFP. The UN Human Rights Office said it had seen “credible evidence” of city lawmakers using weapons in ways prohibited by international standards, “For example, officials can be seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury,” it said, reports HKFP.
The pro-democracy protests have continued despite Hong Kong leader withdrawing the controversial extradition bill. “The Carrie Lam concession, so-called concession has come too little, too late. The damage is done,” said pro-democracy lawmaker and member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council Claudia Mo, adding, “The scars and wounds are still bleeding in Hong Kong.”
“Hong Kong people, we will never stop until Hong Kong is the place with democracy and freedom,” said activist leader Joshua Wong.