Schumer Floor Statement On Senate Passage Of Hong Kong Human Rights And Democracy Act

November 19, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today gave the following floor remarks after the United States Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act:

I want to sincerely thank my colleagues. This has been a great bipartisan moment on the floor of the Senate for a very important issue. I want to thank particularly my colleagues from Florida, Senator Rubio, Maryland, Senator Cardin, New Jersey, Senator Menendez, and Idaho, Senator Risch, as well as all of those others who had a hand in this work. The Senate has just sent a resounding message to the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi that the United States stands with the democratic protestors in Hong Kong.

The bipartisan legislation, with great help from the chair and ranking members from the Foreign Relations Committee, will safeguard Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy and hold accountable those responsible for any human rights abuses in Hong Kong. And the bipartisan legislation that will soon be offered by the Senators from Oregon and Texas will make sure that U.S. companies do not sell riot equipment to the Hong Kong police.

We have sent a message to President Xi: your suppression of freedom, whether in Hong Kong, in northwest China or anywhere else will not stand. You cannot be a great leader and you cannot be a great country when you oppose freedom, when you are so brutal to the people of Hong Kong, young and old, who are protesting. When you are so brutal to the Uyghurs in northwest China, and when China is censored so the Chinese people can’t get the truth. History has shown that that always fails, President Xi. Always fails, and yet China has taken dramatic steps backward in the curtailment of freedom.

As my colleagues well know, the protests in Hong Kong have taken an ominous turn. The Hong Kong police – no doubt at the behest of the Communist Party in Beijing – have undertaken an increasingly violent crackdown on student protestors.

As the ruling party in Beijing continues to flout Hong Kong’s judicial independence, while perpetrating a brutal suppression of minority groups from one end of China to the other, American support for the democratic rights of Hong Kong’s citizenry is paramount.

To the people of China, we stand with you in freedom. To the kids in Hong Kong, the students and the adults, we stand with you. To the Uyghurs who simply want to practice their religion, we stand with you. And freedom will prevail and the Chinese system will either change or fail. I yield the floor.

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