The recent anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong have attracted the attention of a number of United States politicians who have put out statements of support for the demonstrators and have tabled legislation aimed at reaccessing how the US should regard Hong Kong in trade and economic affairs going forward.
With China accusing these politicians of interfering in its internal affairs, Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern recently spoke with CNN’s Kristie Lu Stout on why he and other American lawmakers have decided to take notice of what’s going on in Hong Kong.
You can read some excerpts from the interview below:
Your thoughts on Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong Chief Executive has again apologized, as you know, she has not withdrawn the bill nor has she announced any inquiry into allegations of police violence, you’re thinking about her and her leadership?
My advice to her would be stop apologizing and listen to the people of Hong Kong, withdraw the extradition bill and then initiate an independent investigation into the use of excessive force against these peaceful protesters. She has to listen to the people in Hong Kong.
There is a criticism in China that “foreign forces” are responsible for the protest in Hong Kong, Does that make you think twice about weighing in on the crisis?
Mainland China always uses that excuse when something happens that they don’t like… China’s human right record has deteriorated and the people of Hong Kong don’t want to be subjected to extradition by the Chinese government. By the way, just as the people in Hong Kong could be subjected to extradition, it is also the people from the United States and other international players of Hong Kong as well.
Why are you and other American lawmakers fundamentally concerned about fate of Hong Kong. Is it about freedom, democracy for Hong Kong? Or is it about China and checking China’s growing power?
I think the United States, if we stand for anything, needs to stand out loud and for human rights.
The other thing too is Hong Kong has a special economic and trade designation by the United States. We have reintroduced the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act. Basically asking Congress to determine whether or not Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous in order to receive these special trade preferences and economic benefits.
The people of Hong Kong have spoken and the international community understand with them.
The US Secretary State Mike Pompeo has said that President Donald Trump will raise the issue of Hong Kong human rights with Xi Jinping at the upcoming G20 summit. Your thoughts on that meeting, can Donald Trump save Hong Kong?
I hope Donald Trump raises the issue of human rights in Hong Kong when he meets with President Xi. The words human rights have not been in president’s vocabulary, unfortunately, and so I hope that this is something he raises.
People ought to realize that the United States Congress is paying very close attention to this and is very concerned about what is happening. We were horrified by the excessive force used by security forces against these peaceful demonstrators.