U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chair and cochair respectively of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), sent a letter May 23 to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressing “concern” that proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition law would “negatively impact the relationship between the United States and Hong Kong” and asked that the amendments be “withdrawn from consideration.”
The CECC Chairs were joined by a bipartisan group of CECC Commissioners including Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Representatives Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Thomas Suozzi (D-NY), Brian Mast (R-FL), and Ben McAdams (D-UT).
Background: On May, 15, 2019 the CECC held a hearing “Hong Kong’s Future in the Balance: Eroding Autonomy and Challenges to Human Rights.” Statements by the Chairs, witness testimony, and the hearing video can be found on the CECC website. On April 4, 2019 the CECC Chairs issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws saying that approval “will erode Hong Kong’s reputation as a center for commerce governed by the rule of law.”
Hong Kong: Serious Concerns About Amendments to Extradition Laws
U.S. Representative James P. McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), issued the following statement regarding the Hong Kong government’s proposed amendments to its extradition laws:
“The proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws, if approved, will erode Hong Kong’s reputation as a center of commerce governed by the rule of law. The people of Hong Kong and foreigners residing in Hong Kong—including 85,000 Americans—must be protected from a criminal justice system in mainland China that is regularly employed as a tool of repression. The Chinese government has subjected both Chinese and foreign nationals to arbitrary detention, coerced confessions, denial of legal representation and medical treatment and other types of mistreatment. Those affected have included human rights advocates, lawyers, civil society activists, citizen journalists, ethnic minority populations including Uyghurs and Tibetans, and Hong Kong residents who have been arbitrarily detained by Chinese authorities—such as booksellers Gui Minhai and Lam Wing-kee. We ask the Hong Kong government to ensure protections for all of Hong Kong’s residents and take into account the concerns of Hong Kong legislators, the international business community, the Hong Kong Bar Association, and human rights groups before scheduling a vote in the Legislative Council (LegCo).”
Copy of the original letter is as follows: