CCP’s Oppression of Hong Kong Matters to the US: House Committee Chairman

‘We were promised one country, two systems. Instead what we see is one country, one system, one party, one ruler: Xi Jinping.’

The chairman of a House committee said Hong Kong’s freedom and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) oppression of the city matter to the United States as Beijing has tightened its grip on the former British territory.

In the roundtable titled “The Future of Hong Kong: U.S. Policy Going Forward,” hosted by the House Select Committee on the CCP on May 23, the chairman of the committee, Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), warned that Americans’ core values are in danger as the CCP broke its promise to Hong Kong in the 1997 handover from the UK.

Mr. Moolenaar explained why Americans should care about Hong Kong and how the CCP’s repression erodes its freedom.

“The answer is that the core values of the American people are at stake. When the Chinese Communist Party breaks its word to respect the freedom of Hong Kong through ‘one country, two systems,’ it’s breaking its word to the entire world,” he said.

“We were promised ‘one country, two systems.’ Instead, what we see is one country, one system, one party, one ruler: Xi Jinping,” the committee’s ranking member Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said, adding that “One man has decided that Hong Kong is no longer going to abide by what was promised to the rest of the world.”

During the roundtable, lawmakers and experts discussed how the Hong Kong government has prosecuted pro-democracy activists, targeting them via transnational repression on behalf of the CCP. They also examined what the deterioration of Hong Kong’s rule of law meant for the United States and how Washington should respond to these developments.

Speaking at the event, activist and American citizen Joey Siu expressed concerns that the Hong Kong government was spying on pro-democracy activists in the United States through its representative offices, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices. She accused these offices of acting as secret police stations for the CCP and questioned why the three offices in Washington, New York, and San Francisco are still allowed to operate on American soil.

Joey Siu, a Hong Kong activist, speaks at a roundtable event in Washington on May 23, 2024. (Courtesy of the House Select Committee on the CCP)
Joey Siu, a Hong Kong activist, speaks at a roundtable event in Washington on May 23, 2024. (Courtesy of the House Select Committee on the CCP)

Last year, Hong Kong authorities offered bounties of HK$1 million (about $128,000) for the capture of Ms. Siu and four other activists, citing their violation of the CCP-imposed national security law.

Speaking with The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD, Mr. Moolenaar raised concerns over national security risks as these activists faced oppression on U.S. soil. He noted that lessons should be learned from the Hong Kong case, as the CCP has violated the “one country, two systems” promise.

“I think the lessons are very clear that you cannot trust the words of the CCP; the actions are what matter, and we’ve seen clearly their actions in Hong Kong,” he said.

Mr. Moolenaar also rejected the idea that the United States should accept the oppression of the Chinese regime, as some argue that the battle for Hong Kong has already been lost to the CCP. “Our Select Committee believes freedom will be the victor. I believe our God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights for every person,” he said.

At the roundtable, Jonathan Price, a member of the legal team for imprisoned pro-democracy advocate and media tycoon Jimmy Lai, emphasized that the rule of law and free media are essential for Hong Kong’s future. Mr. Price called on the Hong Kong government to release Mr. Lai immediately.Earlier this month, a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that Hong Kong’s freedoms have significantly eroded since 2020 in almost all areas under Beijing’s control.

The report indicated that Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy,” intended to be preserved until 2047, has been undermined since China shifted toward authoritarianism under CCP leader Xi Jinping.

Since the Beijing-imposed national security law was enacted in the city in 2020, authorities have suppressed protests, imprisoned pro-democracy activists, and banned gatherings, including the annual Tiananmen Square massacre vigil.

The report said that as of February 2023, 291 people had been arrested for allegedly engaging in activities that threaten national security since the law was implemented. It notes that cash bounties have been placed on at least 13 Hong Kong overseas opposition figures and activists, fostering a climate of fear even among those who manage to escape the city.

The report’s authors offered several recommendations for U.S. policymakers. One suggestion is to enforce penalties on individuals accountable for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy, thus raising the stakes for Beijing’s actions. Another recommendation is to maintain Hong Kong’s remaining autonomy from the Chinese regime for as long as possible by reinforcing practical engagements between state and non-state actors in the United States and Hong Kong while using targeted punitive measures when necessary.

NTD’s Sam Wang contributed to this report.


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