U.S. leaders came together to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to “take a firm stance” ahead of her 12th visit to China.
After the announcement of the long-overdue withdrawal of the controversial bill on Wednesday, Sept. 4, the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement in which she expressed support for Hong Kong people.
“The withdrawal of the dangerous extradition bill by the pro-Beijing leadership of Hong Kong is welcome news, but much more must be done to fully realize the legitimate aspirations of the ≠HongKong people,” she said.
“Democrats and Republicans continue to stand united with the people of Hong Kong in demanding the hopeful, free, and democratic future that is their right,” Pelosi added.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) commented on the Hong Kong government’s decision, calling it an “insufficient step.” He also reiterated his call for Congress to take up and pass his bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
“The Chinese Communist Party should uphold its commitments to Hong Kong’s autonomy and stop aggravating the situation with threats of violence,” he wrote.
A visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a business delegation to Beijing this week amid escalating violation in Hong Kong sparked criticism from U.S. leaders.
“Can’t believe German Chancellor Merkel is bringing German CEOs to visit China during the Hong Kong uprising,” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) wrote in a tweet.
“Germany should be lending her voice to democracy and freedom. Between this visit to China and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia, Germany is empowering all the wrong people and regimes. Tone deaf. Very disappointing,” he continued.
Germany should be lending her voice to democracy and freedom.
Between this visit to China and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia, Germany is empowering all the wrong people and regimes. Tone deaf. Very disappointing.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 4, 2019
Days before Merkel’s visit, prominent Hong Kong activists had written a letter to her, calling for support as she also experienced “at first hand the horrors of a dictatorial regime.”
The U.S. ambassador to Germany also voiced objection to the visit, saying, “Now is not the time for business as usual with China” and “Hope that Chancellor Merkel will take a firm stance for the values that unified Germany after the fall of Communism: human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.”
On Sept. 4, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the government will formally withdraw an extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be sent to mainland China for trials. The bill has sparked months of demonstrations in the city.