Boston (May 28, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Ranking Member of the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the State Department is declining to certify, as required annually by U.S. law, that Hong Kong has sufficient autonomy from Chinese government rule. In doing so, the State Department is triggering a whole of government review of Hong Kong’s special status, in accordance with the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 and other statutes, which afford Hong Kong separate treatment in political, economic, trade, and other capacities as long as it remains autonomous from the mainland. The Department’s announcement came the day before a move by the Chinese government to pass a national security law giving Beijing sweeping powers in Hong Kong, running afoul of Chinese government commitments under international agreements on Hong Kong’s autonomy.


“The United States and the world must speak with one voice in response to the Chinese government’s attempts to export a police state to Hong Kong,” said Senator Markey. “Beijing’s actions towards Hong Kong in recent years, culminating in this new law, have revealed its true intentions and its blatant disregard for their commitments on Hong Kong’s status. The United States must lead the community of free nations to oppose Chinese government aggression and disregard for universal values. Hong Kong is an egregious example, but China has long sought to export authoritarianism around the world, threatening human rights and democratic values.


“The Trump administration must now consult closely with Congress and our partners and allies to chart a path forward that takes into account not only U.S. strategic interests, but aim to do no harm to the people of Hong Kong,” continued Senator Markey. “We should aim to preserve Hong Kong’s special trade status or otherwise prevent Hong Kong’s full assimilation into an authoritarian system that does not respect human rights or the rule of law. I will also support steps that preserve safeguards on mutually beneficial partnerships with Hong Kong to fight financial crime, sanctions evasion, and trafficking of illicit goods such as fentanyl. And wherever possible, I will support policy options that remind Beijing that it is not too late to honor its commitments.”


“My thoughts are with the people of Hong Kong, whose bravery in the face of Beijing’s authoritarianism has inspired the world, and given hope to those who seek freedom under the most difficult circumstances.”