Joshua Wong lobbies for passage of HK Democracy Act

Local | 17 Sep 2019 2:44 pm

Joshua Wong believes US President Donald Trump would sign a bipartisan congressional bill aimed at supporting democracy in Hong Kong, NBC News reports.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, has gained momentum among lawmakers, including former presidential candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and representative Pete Olson, and would direct the president to sanction those who suppress basic freedoms in Hong Kong.

Trump is “strongly aware that if troops or tanks will be sent to Hong Kong … it not only will have a chilling effect on the Hong Kong people, but it will affect the Asian financial market, even the world economy,” Wong, 22, told NBC News in New York on Saturday.

Wong arrived in Manhattan late last week to attend several speaking events before heading to Capitol Hill to testify Tuesday before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Asked if he will meet with Trump, Wong said only that he is hoping to visit with senators, congressmen and “government officials from the U.S. administration.”

The White House did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Wong said he will push for passage of the bill, sponsored in the Senate by Florida Republican Marco Rubio, an outspoken China critic who serves as commission co-chair, and in the House by representative Chris Smith.

So far, 16 senators and 25 House members from both parties have signed on as co-sponsors of the reintroduced act, which would require the federal government to annually assess Hong Kong’s political autonomy to decide whether to give it preferential economic and trade benefits under U.S. law.

The bill would additionally direct the president to impose sanctions like revoking or denying visas or freezing the U.S.-based assets of anyone responsible for abducting Hong Kong booksellers and journalists, as well as those who stifle basic freedoms in the city.

Wong said he also plans to tell the commission that a human rights clause must be added to trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, which have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff showdown.

And he said he’ll urge the U.S. to stop exports to Hong Kong of nonlethal crowd control items like rubber bullets and tear gas used by riot police, a call echoed in a House bil  introduced last week.

Beijing, which has characterized the protesters as “violent extremists,” ridiculed that legislation.

“I wonder if the U.S. congressmen want to save these anti-riot equipment to deal with problems at home?” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said last Wednesday.

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