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WASHINGTON, DC, USA – Forty of the 100 US senators co-sponsored a resolution on Wednesday, March 15, urging a strong US government response to any Chinese efforts to clamp down on dissent in Hong Kong, including the use of sanctions and other tools.
The measure backed by the 40 Democrats and Republicans, and seen by Reuters before its release, comes as members of the US Congress urge President Joe Biden’s administration to take a harder line in dealings with a rising China over a wide range of issues.
The resolution is non-binding, but is intended to convey a strong sense that lawmakers are closely watching events in China and will respond.
China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong in 2020 outlawing acts including subversion with up to life in prison.
The law has been criticized by some Western governments as a tool to crush dissent, but the Chinese and Hong Kong governments say it has restored stability to the city after protracted pro-democracy protests in 2019.
“This resolution calls for the release of all wrongfully-accused defendants and encourages the US government and democratic partners to use all tools available to hold Beijing and the Hong Kong government accountable,” said Senator Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a statement.
“I look forward to securing this bipartisan resolution’s swift passage as we continue our efforts to enhance every aspect of US policy toward China,” Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement.
Among other things, the resolution condemns the security law, supports Hongkongers “as they fight to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms” and condemns the imposition of “false and politically-motivated charges” and the jailing of Jimmy Lai, a jailed pro-democracy Hong Kong tycoon and founder of the now shut pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. – Rappler.com