Date
22 September 2017
The ongoing protests have focused global attention on Hong Kong’s debate over the future of its political system, according to a US commission. Photo: Reuters
The ongoing protests have focused global attention on Hong Kong’s debate over the future of its political system, according to a US commission. Photo: Reuters

US bipartisan bill seeks scrutiny of HK political reform

A bipartisan bill seeking to revive scrutiny of political developments in Hong Kong has been filed in the United States Congress.

The draft legislation is based on a 1992 law that provides for annual reports by the US government on political reform in the former British colony.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Bill filed Thursday in both houses of Congress follows Beijing’s refusal to allow genuine universal suffrage in the Chinese special administrative region, Radio Free Asia reported Friday, citing US lawmakers.

The US State Department suspended the reports in 2000, three years after Britain returned Hong Kong to China.

The new legislation would update the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 “by reinstating and strengthening the US State Department’s annual report to Congress on conditions in Hong Kong of interest to the United States”, according to a statement by the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

The bill requires certification from the US president that Hong Kong is “sufficiently autonomous before enacting any new laws or agreements affording Hong Kong different treatment from the People’s Republic of China”.

“Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms — essential to its relations with the US — are under threat from China,” commission chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown said. 

Also, the commission announced that a hearing will be held in the Senate next week on the future of democracy in Hong Kong, saying the ongoing protests have focused global attention on Hong Kong’s debate over the future of its political system.

The Nov. 20 hearing will examine China’s commitments to Hong Kong and the international community in light of the recent pro-democracy protests,” Brown said.

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AC/RA

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