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tv   U.S. Senate Sanction Against China for National Security Law in Hong Kong  CSPAN  July 3, 2020 5:39am-5:59am EDT

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other's skin. they don't care about the passion of their religions. here they lie, a perfect democracy. they fought and died for america not for what it is, but for what they can become. and i think that is in the spirit of this conversation. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. toomey: thank you, mr. president. i'm here on the senate floor and with my colleague from maryland. i'm here this morning in part to condemn chinese communist party's actions, their efforts to swallow hong kong into the mainland, and silence the dissent of the people of hong kong, but i'm also here to do something about that. you know, for decades, hong kong has been one of the most successful, thriving societies on the planet. an indispensable part of their success has been their freedom. hong kong has enjoyed a vibrant free press, free speech, freedom to worship. they have had an independent judiciary and a partially
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democratic electoral representative system of government for a long time now. hong kong's one of the freest places in asia, and because of these freedoms and the hong kong people's natural entrepreneurial spirit, hong kong is just one of the most successful and vibrant cities there has ever been. and yet for years, maybe because of this, the chinese communist party has pursued a systematic campaign to snuff out these basic freedoms in hong kong and bring the hong kongers who live there into line. and the intensity of the chinese communist aggression appears to be growing by the day. their campaign shouldn't be very surprising. just look at the recent actions, the genocidal action towards the we juries, or the aggressive action towards neighboring countries in the south china sea or toward the entire world since the covid-19 virus was first
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detected in wuhan. the just rule of law, these ideas are entirely antithetical to the core of the chinese communist party's commission. i think several years from now we will look back on july 1 of 2020 as a milestone in the chinese communist party's aggression and hostility towards hong kong. yesterday, mr. president, was the first day of the chinese communist party's new so-called national security law went into effect. news reports described the law as, quote, tailor-made to bring hong kong's pro-democracy movement to heel. this picture was taken in the last 48 hours. thousands and thousands of people of hong kong taking to the streets to simply demand
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their freedoms, peacefully, to protest, to insist that they continue to have the freedoms that help make their society such great society. but tragically, 300 of these people were arrested last night simply because they were protesting the chinese communist party. some of the arrests were made because hong kongers possessed items that called for hong kong's independence. that's right. people arrested simply for holding a sign, arrested for holding a flag. among them was a 15-year-old girl. 15-year-old girl. her crime -- she held a flag that said hong kong independence. another was a 19-year-old young man. his crime was that he had a pro-democracy sticker on his phone. imagine. imagine the nerve of wanting to have self-determination and expressing that with a sticker on your phone. so he was arrested. his parents attempted tovisi their son in jail and bring him
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dinner, and the police refused their visit. it's not at all clear if this young man will be able to get out even on bail. so the chinese communist party has very rapidly started enforcing this new law, and i think it's because they realize what's at stake. they know that hong kong -- the people of hong kong fervently believe in the importance of an open and free society. they believe in and they want the ability to practice liberal values, and they want a system of transparent, accountable government, one that's elected by and responsive to the people. you see, the vision of the people of hong kong for their own city, for their own society is anathema to the chinese communist party because the chinese communist party's deepest fear is that mainland chinese citizens will demand the freedoms that hong kongers enjoy. and that quest for freedom on the mainland would pose an unacceptable risk to the
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authoritarian control of the communist regime. and so the chinese communist party is cracking down. we have been witnessing it just in recent hours. this new so-called national security law is unilaterally imposed on the people of hong kong without any input of the people of hong kong, and that is in direct contravention to chinese commitments to hong kong and the international community. the law was also purposefully written in a very vague and ambiguous manner, designed to essentially criminalize any behavior or speech on the part of a resident of hong kong that the chinese communist party does not approve of. now, the law may be ambiguous, but the message behind it is not. if a 19-year-old can now be imprisoned for having a sticker on his phone or a 15-year-old girl can be imprisoned for having a flag, then no one is safe, and that's the message that beijing wants to send to
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the people of hong kong. we can arrest you. we can imprison you if you misbehave, so think twice about what you say, where you go, with whom you meet, what you read, what you write, maybe even think twice about what you think. this law sadly looks like it means the end of hong kong's autonomy and the freedoms which underpin this -- its social and economic vibrancy, and we're seeing the effects. as i said, hundreds of arrested that occurred just yesterday as tens of thousands of courageous hong kongers -- here we see some of them -- pouring into the streets to shout and chant and demonstrate peacefully to tell the chinese communist parties that they are not going to back down, but we have also seen hong kongers who have been forced to scrub their social media history, booksellers who are intending to remove books from their shelves, hong kong pro-democracy political figures saying that they have to lessen
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their activism and rethink their strategy, and how can you blame them? how can you blame them? they could face years in prison if the hong kong authorities at the bidding of the people in beijing choose to target them. i think we can fully expect independent media voices in hong kong to be shuttered and beijing censorship and surveillance apparatus to flourish in the coming months and years. the fact is hong kong's vibrancy is being throttled by the chinese communist party. so i'm on the senate floor today to request passage of a piece of legislation that responds to this, mr. president. i'm pleased to report it's already received unanimous support from both chambers of commerce. i introduced this legislation with my colleague, senator van hollen of maryland, to create real penalties on those responsible for this campaign by the chinese communist party to end hong kong's free way of life. it's called the hong kong
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autonomy act, and the bill would impose mandatory sanctions on anyone involved in taking action to attack the basic freedoms that were promised to the people of hong kong. critically, our legislation also takes another step. it penalizes banks that choose to finance the erosion of hong kong's autonomy, banks that would put marginal profits ahead of basic human rights of the people of hong kong. and i am really pleased that we are here this morning, i think we're on the verge of sending this legislation to the president's desk, because america needs to take meaningful steps like this to push back on the chinese communist party. and we should remember that this aggression towards hong kong is not limited to hong kong. the chinese communist party is intent to spread its influence and power worldwide, and in the process it is meant to simultaneously undermine and challenge free and open societies.
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i should point out the spread of the chinese communist party influence around the world poses a very real threat to us, to americans, to our national and economic interests, and that's part of why the hong kong autonomy act is so important. it's not only an effort to shield freedom-loving hong kongers from this continuing escalation of aggression by the chinese communists, but the bill is a larger signal to china. it's a message that the united states and the free world are no longer willing to look past some of the worst behavior that's been occurring. it's a message that our patients has run out. china is being warned to expect stiff resistance, stiff resistance to stealing intellectual american property, to committing genocide, to militarizing artificial islands and infringing on other nations' sovereign waters, and trampling on the basic freedoms of the people of hong kong. i could go on, but suffice it to
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say, mr. president, that this is occurring in the context of a great battle, a great battle about what model the world is going to pursue. will the citizens of the united states and other democratic nations around the world continue to foster the liberal democratic model that spread around the world after world war ii, with open societies, the just rule of law, greater economic freedom underpinned by respect for private property, basic human rights like the free speech and the freedom of free press and the freedom to worship, all of the prosperity and the elevation of human dignity that comes from human freedom and democratic values from our model, that is the model that is up against the dark shadows of the authoritarian governments that are constantly pushing to systematically erode, corrode, and warp the values and freedoms that we cherish. mr. president, through this
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bill, the u.s. senate makes clear which side we're on. and at this point i would like to yield to the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. van hollen: thank you, mr. president. i want to salute my friend and colleague from pennsylvania, mr. toomey, for his remarks and for his leadership on this very vital issue of standing up for the rights and freedom of people in hong kong and, as he said, sending a signal to others around the world who would like to stamp out human rights and political freedom. when senator toomey and i saw that the chinese communist party was taking its more recent steps to crack down on freedom in hong kong, we introduced the hong
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kong accountability act. that act just passed the united states senate unanimously last week and was sent to the house of representatives. this is a very fast turnaround from either of the chambers here in the united states congress, and i want to thank speaker pelosi and her republican partner and all the democrats and republicans in the house of representatives for coming together so quickly on this legislation. the legislation before us made a technical fix to the bill that senator toomey and i introduced and which this senate passed out last week, a technical fix to comply with the constitutional requirements as to where a bill that might generate revenue begins. but with that technical fix, speaker pelosi and the
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republican leadership sent it right back. and why did they send it right back owe quickly? -- so quickly? because this is an urgent moment. in fact, our timing could not be more critical. on tuesday, president xi imposed the national security law on hong kong by fiat. it was only after the law was passed that beijing unveiled its provisions. even hong kong's chief executive and president xi loyalist lam said she had been allowed to see a draft before the law's passage. and as senator toomey indicated, this law is written broadly enough that it will criminalize speech and peaceful assembly. anybody who publishes
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anti-beijing viewpoints could be punished by life imprisonment. saying anything seen to be undermining the ruling communist party's authority would be a violation. this is consistent with mainland china's approach, which has virtually eliminated independent journalism and severely restricted n.g.o.'s. here are some highlights of the law that was just passed -- i should say imposed. it now mandates that the hong kong government undertake, quote, national security education, unquote, in school, social organizations, and media outlets. the law mandates that anyone entering public office in hong kong swear allegiance to beijing. what's more, the law applies to anyone anywhere. it can even apply to offenses
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committed outside the region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the region. that means a united states citizen penning an editorial that argues for sanctions against china. that person could technically fall afoul of the new law for, quote, inciting hatred, unquote, against beijing. legal experts believe that this is even broader than the chinese criminal law applied in mainland china. as senator toomey said, despite this -- despite this threat, despite passage of a law that would punish people for up to life imprisonment for expressing their views, thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday and staged the largest rally in hong kong this year. hundreds of hong kong police officers moved in swiftly to
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squash the dissent and implement the law. they fired pepper spray and water cannons to disperse them. some protesters were chanting, quote, hong kong independence -- the only way out, unquote. the statement said such slogans are, quote, suspected to be inciting or abetting others to commit secession, unquote, and may violate the new law. mr. president, the united states must stand with the people of hong kong, and that's what this bill says. this bill says, we stand with the people of hong kong. as senator toomey indicated, it would impose mandatory sanctions on individuals and firms who violate china's obstacles to the people of -- obligations to the people of hong kong under the
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joint declaration and the basic law. rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association and the right from arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention, and imprisonment. it goes beyond that to impose mandatory sanctions on banks that do business with individuals who are complicit in undermining these freedoms and the rights of the people of hong kong. so, mr. president, i'm glad we acted quickly. as you can see, the government of china is moving by the day to squash the rights and freedoms of the people of hong kong. we need to move with urgency to send a statement that we stand with the people of hong kong. in a moment i'm going to be joining my colleague, senator toomey, in asking for unanimous consent. before i turn it back over to him, let me jus


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