Chairman Brown and Cochairman Smith Statement on Hong Kong

Congressional-Executive Commission on China |

October 1, 2014

(Washington, DC)—The chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China issued the following statement in response to ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong.

“We are extremely concerned at reports that police used violence against peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong. At this critical moment, we urge central Chinese and Hong Kong officials to refrain from any violence and to guarantee and protect the internationally recognized rights of the Hong Kong people to freely assemble and express their democratic wishes. China must honor its commitments to allow Hong Kong to maintain its separate system and to hold democratic elections starting in 2017. Hong Kong’s stability rests in its relative freedoms and rule of law,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, CECC Chairman.

“At this time, leadership and restraint are needed to avoid unnecessary violence and protect Hong Kong's Basic Law and its long-established traditions. The freedom genie cannot be stuffed neatly back into the Communist bottle. Beijing can accept this fact, work within the promised ‘One Country, Two Systems Model,’ and be lauded for its leadership, or Beijing can use force and repression again to stifle peaceful dissent and reform, losing the trust of the people of Hong Kong, neighboring countries, and the international community at large,” said Congressman Chris Smith, CECC Cochairman.

Senator Brown and Congressman Smith plan to introduce bipartisan legislation to amend the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to strengthen U.S. monitoring of developments in Hong Kong by resuming the reporting requirements in the Act.

The Commission closely monitors Hong Kong and reports on developments throughout the year and in its annual report, which will be released by October 10 and which will include recommendations for legislative and executive action on Hong Kong. In April, the Commission held a public roundtable on “Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong” at which two prominent advocates for Hong Kong democracy, Martin Lee and Anson Chan, offered testimony.