US Senator backs 'Hong Kong Be Water Act' to seize assets of rights abusers

Local | 1 Nov 2019 10:23 am

US Republican lawmaker Josh Hawley plans to make good on the threats he leveled against Chinese human-rights violators in a recent Senate floor speech by introducing legislation on Thursday that would impose sanctions on government officials involved in the totalitarian crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, the National Review reports.

The “Hong Kong Be Water” Act, which is co-sponsored by Republican senators Rick Scott of Florida and John Cornyn of Texas, condemns the Chinese government for violating the civil liberties obligated to Hong Kong citizens, and calls for punishing the transgressors by freezing their personal financial assets.

Hawley and Scott drafted the legislation after witnessing the protests first-hand during a visit to Hong Kong last month.

“Protesters told me it was important to ‘be water’ — meaning, move quickly and be fluid when confronted by police,” Hawley said. “Make no mistake about it: Hong Kong is rapidly becoming a police state. We must send a signal to the world that the United States will stand with Hongkongers as they stand up to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Scott added that he “heard horrible stories of police brutality, threats, and intimidation. As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue.”

The bill calls for freezing the assets of Chinese nationals and state-owned enterprises that help suppress “Hongkongers’ freedoms of speech, association, assembly, procession, and demonstration.”

The sanctions would be applied under the Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. to target the personal financial interests of human rights abusers anywhere in the world. Passed in 2012, the bill is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian tax accountant who was beaten to death in a Russian prison after uncovering massive financial corruption at the highest levels of Russian government.-Photo: Fox News

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