Hong Kong’s protesters took a rest Wednesday out of respect for the 9/11 anniversary. It’s just the latest sign that the movement is resting its hopes on American support.
On Monday, thousands marched toward the US consulate, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” waving American flags and carrying “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong” posters.
More realistically, they’re also urging Congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, a bipartisan bill that would allow for US economic sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who suppress democracy and human rights.
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That would be in keeping with decades of US laws aiming to protect rights in other nations, both friendly and hostile. Merely the possibility of sanctions could be vital in restraining officials despite Beijing’s long-term goal of crushing Hong Kong’s liberties.
“Hong Kong is at the forefront of the battle against the totalitarian regime of China,” Panzer Chan, a march organizer, told The Associated Press. “Please support us in our fight.”
Naturally, Beijing’s puppet Hong Kong government warned Washington to stay out of it: “Foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs” of the island. Yet no one would have to do anything if the mainland government weren’t violating the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that transferred control to Beijing while supposedly guaranteeing Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Civil Human Rights Front, the group behind the largest protests this summer, has big plans for both Sept. 28 and Oct. 1. Before then, Congress and the Trump administration should at the very least voice clear support for these brave men and women and their thirst for freedom.