Yesterday in Tokyo, Japan, I spoke of the need to stand up for our shared democratic values and to work together to hold to account those who would threaten them. Today, we are again doing that. The release of today’s update to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act report underscores our deep concern with the National People’s Congress March 11 decision to unilaterally undermine Hong Kong’s electoral system. This action further undermines the high degree of autonomy promised to people in Hong Kong and denies Hong Kongers a voice in their own governance, a move that the United Kingdom has declared to be a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, the Secretary of State is required to regularly update Congress on foreign persons who are materially contributing to, have materially contributed to, or attempt to materially contribute to the failure of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to meet its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration or Hong Kong’s Basic Law, as defined by the Act. Today’s update identifies 24 PRC and Hong Kong officials whose actions have reduced Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, including 14 vice chairs of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee and officials in the Hong Kong Police Force’s National Security Division, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, and the Office for Safeguarding National Security. Foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct significant transactions with the individuals listed in today’s report are now subject to sanctions.
A stable, prosperous Hong Kong that respects human rights, freedoms, and political pluralism serves the interests of Hong Kong, mainland China, and the broader international community. The United States stands united with our allies and partners in speaking out for the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong, and we will respond when the PRC fails to meet its obligations.