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Statement on freedom in Hong Kong
U.S. Congressman Chris Smith
3/13/2004

Statement on Freedom in Hong Kong: Chairman Cox Reports on Meeting with Hong Kong Democrats
United States of America
Congressional Record
PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 108th CONGRESS

WASHINGTON, THURSDAY, March 4, 2004

Freedom in Hong Kong

Mr. COX of California: Mr. Speaker, the House Policy Committee met today with a distinguished delegation of Hong Kong legislators and advocates of democracy. I would like to briefly report on this meeting.

Last year, the Policy Committee met twice with representatives from Hong Kong:

First, on January 28, 2003, we met with Hong Kong representatives, including journalists, who briefed us on the PRCˇ¦s efforts to restrict media and intellectual freedoms. Second, on June 5, 2003, we met with a delegation of legislators and human rights advocates. Todayˇ¦s was our third meeting on Hong Kong in the 108th Congress.

The Policy Committee has held approximately 30 meetings in the 108th Congress. The policy-setting organization for the House Majority has devoted fully 10% of our meeting time to the cause of freedom for seven million people on the other side of the earth for several reasons:

First, we are the policy-setting organization for the Republican majority. Our party was founded 150 years agoˇXmore accurately, 149 years, 11 months,and two weeks agoˇXon the simple idea of individual freedom. Republican presidents helped secure freedom for millions of Americans in the Civil War and for millions more around the world in the Cold War. Today, President Bush has naturally made freedom around the world the primary means of securing victory in the war on terrorism. The basis of our party is freedom, and Hong Kong, today, is on freedomˇ¦s frontier.

Second, the seven million people of Hong Kong represent the best hope for more than a billion others in Asia. It is vitally important to the world that China becomes more like Hong Kong, and not the other way around. Accomplishing that goal would be in the interests of the people of Hong Kong and all of China, and it would be in the interests of the United States and the rest of the world, as a free, democratic, and prosperous China would be a more stable and friendly neighbor and member of the international community.

One month after our previous meeting, the Hong Kong legislature was scheduled to vote on a PRC-backed law to severely limit free speech and civil liberties in Hong Kong, in the name of punishing ˇ§subversion.ˇ¨ We and the House International Relations Committee proposed, and the House approved, a resolution in support of freedom in Hong Kong, and against the
proposed anti-subversion law. Unprecedented demonstrations by over one-half million people in Hong Kong followed a few days later. The PRC withdrew the so-called anti-subversion legislation it was backing.

While the withdrawal of the so-called anti-subversion bill was good news, the more recent PRC freeze on the consultative process to provide for the popular election of Hong Kongˇ¦s chief executive in 2007, and of its legislature in 2008, is of grave concern. It is vital to commence this process immediately. China will host the Olympics in 2008. Will the world discover that China has broken its promise? Only if the free world holds China to its commitment, and elections are held in 2007 and 2008, will this global shame be avoided.

Likewise, all the people of Hong KongˇXincluding those who speak out for democracyˇXmust be allowed the freedom to return to travel within China. The refusal of Beijing to grant permission for Chinese patriots in Hong Kong, including many who were born on the mainland, to travel to Beijing is an affront to freedom and to the Olympic spirit.

Mr. Speaker, much work remains to be done for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong and in China. The United States Congress must continue this work.

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