Casey, Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Administration to Speak Out on Hong Kong

Casey, Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Administration to Speak Out on Hong Kong

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), a member of the National Security Working Group, and a bipartisan group of 21 Senators called on President Obama to speak out publicly in support of the people of Hong Kong and their right to full democracy.

In their letter to the President, the Senators urge the Administration to “take demonstrable, meaningful steps to help ensure that Beijing maintains its commitments to the people of Hong Kong.”

“The people of Hong Kong were promised democratic rights and freedoms and China’s government ought to keep that commitment,” Senator Casey said. “It’s critical that the Administration lends its support to the protesters that have gathered over the last few weeks. The people of Hong Kong shouldn’t be forced to endure attacks on peaceful protestors and a steady erosion of their freedoms.”  

Casey signed the letter with Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cory Booker, D-N.J., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Al Franken, D-Minn., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Carl Levin, D-Mich., Mary Landrieu, D-La., John McCain, R-Ariz., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., John Thune, R-S.D., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The full text of the letter:

October 9, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to you regarding the United States’ policy towards Hong Kong.

As democratically elected members of the United States Senate, we strongly support the Hong Kong people's aspiration for universal suffrage and full democracy.  Hong Kong’s economic prosperity and position as Asia’s “world city” is rooted in fundamental rights, including freedoms of peaceful assembly, expression, and the press.

The people of Hong Kong should be applauded and supported for their remarkable courage and determination despite extraordinarily challenging circumstances in recent days.  The “Umbrella Movement” has shown the world the inspirational power of free expression in defense of the basic right to choose one’s leaders freely.  In the wake of the Chinese Communist Party’s public threats and the recent physical attacks against peaceful demonstrators, we encourage you to speak out personally in support of the Hong Kong people’s democratic aspirations.

The United States and Hong Kong have enjoyed a strong relationship with close cultural, economic, and financial ties for over two centuries.  We believe that at this critical time it is appropriate and necessary for the United States to help advance universal suffrage, full democracy, and the rule of law in Hong Kong:

  • This December marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which stipulated that Hong Kong would be governed by “One Country, Two Systems” until at least 2047.  At the request of the People’s Republic of China and the United Kingdom, the United States expressed support for the Joint Declaration as an instrument of international law.
  • The United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 [P.L. 102-383] states that it is United States policy to help preserve Hong Kong’s unique status and to support democratization in Hong Kong.  As you know, the Act also authorizes you to suspend trade and economic provisions should Beijing not provide sufficient autonomy for Hong Kong as outlined by the Joint Declaration.

Beijing’s backsliding on its commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration poses a significant threat to Hong Kong’s position as a center of international trade and finance and adds to concerns about China’s commitment as a responsible participant in the international system.  Over the past week, the people of Hong Kong have reminded the world what is at stake.  We urge you and your administration to take demonstrable, meaningful steps to help ensure that Beijing maintains its commitments to the people of Hong Kong.

Sincerely,

Senator Patrick Leahy

Senator Roger Wicker

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Cory Booker

Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Ben Cardin

Senator Bob Casey

Senator Thad Cochran

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Al Franken

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Jim Inhofe

Senator Carl Levin

Senator Mary Landrieu

Senator John McCain

Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Senator John Thune

Senator Elizabeth Warren

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