Statement by the Chairs on Hong Kong “Elections”

(Washington)—Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China, issued the following statement on the December 19 so-called “elections” in Hong Kong:

The December 19 so-called “elections” in Hong Kong should be viewed for what they are: the culmination of a process engineered by the Chinese Communist Party to exclude pro-democracy candidates and ensure that loyalist pro-Beijing candidates win. The imposition of the National Security Law and other strong-arm methods quashed the slate of all pro-democracy candidates in a self-organized and peaceful primary held in July 2020. Authorities have arrested, imprisoned or forced into exile most pro-democracy candidates, and decimated civil society institutions and free press that are pillars of a democratic society. Further, authorities have threatened independent media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and the UK’s Sunday Times for reporting on the undemocratic nature of the “elections,” attempting to extend their reach to stifle free press globally. The Hong Kong government should release detained candidates and heed their call for genuine universal suffrage.