Sen. Cruz Concludes Indo-Pacific Tour in Hong Kong with Pro-Democracy Activists, Dissidents, and Protest Leaders
As member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Sunday I concluded my weeklong Indo-Pacific tour with a visit to Hong Kong, where I met with pro-democracy activists, dissidents, and protest leaders and expressed my support for those fighting to protect Hong Kong's autonomy, free speech, and basic human rights.
As one of the first U.S. senators to visit Hong Kong since the protests began more than four months ago, I said:
"The eyes of the world are on Hong Kong. When two million protestors take to the streets, it inspires millions not just in Hong Kong, but throughout China, throughout Asia, and throughout the world. I'm here to stand with the people of Hong Kong. I'm here to stand with the protestors in the street. There's a reason I'm dressed in all black [...] to express my solidarity with the brave men and women and, in many instances, the brave boys and girls who are standing up and demanding that China honor the deal China agreed to, protect Hong Kong's autonomy, protect human rights, protect free speech and honor the commitment memorialized in basic law that Hong Kong adopt universal suffrage."
When asked what steps Congress should take to show their support for the people of Hong Kong, I said:
"Passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is an important step that America can and should take. I am a cosponsor of the legislation. It just recently passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which I serve. It passed unanimously with bipartisan support from every Republican and every Democrat. I believe it is likely to pass Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support and be signed into law. It incorporates within it legislation that I introduced specifically calling for reevaluating the relationship with Hong Kong in light of China's human rights abuses."
Highlighting the significance of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, I explained:
"It is a powerful demonstration of American support for the men and women of Hong Kong, but also more broadly global support for the men and women of Hong Kong. The Chinese government hopes it can silence and oppress the people of Hong Kong in the dark of night without anybody noticing. That reality is powerfully illustrated by the hysteria with which the Chinese government responded to a simple tweet from a basketball manager in Houston, Texas. Had the Chinese government simply ignored the tweet, in all likelihood virtually nobody other than diehard Rockets fans like me would have noticed the tweet. But President Xi's fear and insecurity combined with arrogance - [and] a belief that economic blackmail could force the N.B.A to be willing participants in global censorship - ended up ironically highlighting the message far more than it ever would have otherwise."
"When China behaves this way, it does so because it fears teenage protestors in the streets of Hong Kong, dressed in all black, standing up for the flame of human liberty. That is powerful and it makes the communist government in China tremble with fear."
I also urged protest leaders and activists to embrace non-violence. I said:
"Remaining non-violent in the face of brutality is not easy, but it also incredibly powerful for galvanizing the eyes of the world in focusing directly on the injustice in Hong Kong. There is a reason the Communist Party in China wants the Hong Kong protests to turn violent. [They] very much [want] to characterize these protests as violent acts of terrorism rather than democracy protestors standing up for human rights. That is part and parcel with the propaganda we have come to expect from the [Chinese Communist Party]. But my strong encouragement to the protestors here in Hong Kong is resist the urge to respond to brutality in like kind, but instead stand with dignity and along the path that Gandhi and Dr. King blazed before them."
I have long advocated for the United States to stand firm in supporting those resisting the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party.
• In June, I introduced the Hong Kong Policy Reevaluation Act, bipartisan legislation that amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 to strengthen oversight over Hong Kong policy in response to expanding moves by the Chinese Communist Party to exploit Hong Kong to circumvent the laws of the United States. Last month, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee included elements of the bill in the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which passed out of the Committee unanimously.
• In July, I introduced legislation, the Targeting Invasive Autocratic Networks & Necessary Mandatory Export Notifications Act of 2019 or the TIANANMEN Act of 2019 (S.2386), which requires the administration to blacklist Chinese companies that enable the Chinese Communist Party to conduct mass surveillance and oppression of predominantly Muslim religious minorities in Xinjiang. Last week, the administration implemented the parts of my legislation requiring the blacklisting.
Last week, I also traveled to Pearl Harbor, Tokyo, Taiwan, and New Delhi. While in Taiwan, I called into CNBC's ‘Squawk Box.' Watch the full interview here. While in Hong Kong, I appeared on CBS's ‘Face the Nation.' Watch the full interview here.