U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remains vocal in his support of citywide protests taking place in Hong Kong, as the anti-communist demonstrations now enter their third month.
The protests began in earnest on June 9, in response to a controversial China-extradition bill that would expand the Chinese communist regime’s ability to capture and extradite criminal suspects from Hong Kong. Many in Hong Kong fear that this law could be used as a political weapon and target anyone whom China’s communist party views as a political opponent, and this could include democracy supporters, journalists, and human rights advocates, among others.
However, the sustained protests are now being characterized more broadly as “pro-democracy” demonstrations, by both the Hong Kong demonstrators and by Chinese authorities in Beijing.
With clashes between the protesters and riot police escalating in violence during the past week, McConnell reaffirmed his support for the protesters. On Tuesday morning, the senator posted on Twitter, “The people of Hong Kong are bravely standing up to the Chinese Communist Party as Beijing tries to encroach on their autonomy and freedom.”
“Any violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable. As I have said on the Senate floor: the world is watching,” he said.
On July 23, McConnell issued a formal statement, calling for Democracy and Autonomy in the region, which he delivered before the Senate. Read the senator’s statement, linked in the Twitter post below.
The people of Hong Kong are bravely standing up to the Chinese Communist Party as Beijing tries to encroach on their autonomy and freedom. Any violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable. As I have said on the Senate floor: The world is watching. https://t.co/5VPm5P4PfB
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) August 12, 2019
Former Montana senator, and former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus shared his view of the Hong Kong protests on Tuesday, Aug. 13, on CNBC’s program Squawk Box.
Having recently visited Hong Kong over the summer, the former ambassador said, “My sense is that it will get a little bit worse [before it gets better]. I think the protesters have wind at their back. They’ve tasted victory. They’ve slowed things down, and they feel pretty good about how far they’ve gone.”
“There’s a lot of sympathy among the Hong Kong residents that I talk to when I’m there,” Baucus shared. “They say, ‘Let’s urge them on. Let’s urge them on.’”
President Trump has treated the protests mainly as a foreign affair, a dispute between China and its Special Administrative Region. He has tried to remain neutral, as the United States and China remain engaged in divisive trade discussions.
Taking a moment to address reporters, while en route to Tuesday’s speaking engagement on U.S. energy in Pennsylvania, President Trump spoke briefly, “It’s a very tricky situation. I think it will work out, and I hope it works out for liberty. I hope it works out for everybody, including China. I hope it works out peacefully. I hope that nobody gets hurt and nobody gets killed.”
On Tuesday afternoon, however, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was unrestrained in his support for the protesters, posting on Twitter, “To the thousands of young people in Hong Kong who are speaking UP for human rights and speaking OUT against the Communist Party of China: we see you waving the American flag, and we hear you singing our national anthem.”
“America stands for freedom. America stands with Hong Kong,” he said.
To the thousands of young people in Hong Kong who are speaking UP for human rights and speaking OUT against the Communist Party of China: we see you waving the American flag, and we hear you singing our national anthem.
America stands for freedom. America stands with Hong Kong.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 13, 2019