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PRESS RELEASE: Joint Statement of 24 U.S. Hong Kong Advocacy Organizations on Biden Administration's Initial Response to Hong Kong’s Article 23 National Security Law

April 4, 2024 – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation joined 23 other Hong Kong advocacy organizations and community groups in a joint statement calling on the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress to take stronger actions in response to the passage of Article 23 and increasing repression in Hong Kong.

The full text is below:

We, the undersigned Hong Kong advocacy organizations, consider the Biden Administration’s response thus far to Hong Kong’s new Article 23 national security law (“Article 23 NSL”) to be inadequate and concerning. We call on the Administration to swiftly impose measures to deter Beijing’s aggression, including humanitarian pathways for Hong Kong’s dissidents and targeted sanctions on those responsible for what the State Department recently deemed “intensifying repression” in Hong Kong. We also urge Congress to pass the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act, Hong Kong Sanctions Act, and Transnational Repression Policy Act.

Two weeks ago, Beijing and its collaborators in Hong Kong imposed a new national security law on the city under a provision known as Article 23. The Article 23 NSL expands on the infamous 2020 NSL and is designed to stamp out what remains of Hongkongers’ freedoms. It targets both local political activity and overseas activism, including in the United States, and disregards the guarantees Beijing made to the world to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy and way of life. As Beijing seeks to expand its authoritarian influence, threatening democracies in Asia and across the globe, the Article 23 NSL is its latest effort to test the world’s response.

Last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced visa restrictions on Hong Kong officials “responsible for the intensifying crackdown on rights and freedoms.” While visa restrictions are necessary, they fall far short of the decisive action the American people expect of their leaders in response to Beijing’s continued repression of Hong Kong. If these visa restrictions are not followed by a stronger response, Beijing will feel emboldened to expand its repression in Hong Kong and around the world, including on American soil.

Five weeks after the 2020 NSL’s passage, the last administration issued an Executive Order authorizing sanctions on those involved in the “coercing, arresting, detaining, or imprisoning of individuals under the authority of, or to be or have been responsible for or involved in developing, adopting, or implementing” the 2020 NSL. Forty-two officials have since been sanctioned under the order, but we are concerned that no Hong Kong officials have been sanctioned by the U.S. government since 2021.

We call on the administration to use the authority already provided by Congress to impose sanctions against those responsible for passing, implementing, and enforcing the Article 23 NSL, and to offer safe haven in the U.S. to dissidents fleeing the regime.

The U.S. Congress should also act by bringing the HKETO Certification Act (H.R. 1103/S. 490) to the floor for a vote. The legislation has passed both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support. Congress should also advance the Hong Kong Sanctions Act (H.R. 6153/S.3177) and the Transnational Repression Policy Act (H.R. 3654/S.831) in order to further deter Beijing’s repression.

When eleven Hong Kong officials were sanctioned in 2020, Hong Kong had sent fewer than 50 political dissidents to prison. Today, that number has surpassed 1,800. We must not allow Beijing to believe that it can get away with further expansion of its authoritarian influence, and it is up to the Administration and Congress to use the tools available against this growing threat.

1. Hong Kong Democracy Council

2. Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.

3. Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation

4. APAC Committee, Assembly of Citizens’ Representatives, Hong Kong

5. Arizona for Hong Kong (AZ4HK)

6. Bonham Tree Aid

7. Call4HK

8. Chicago Solidarity with Hong Kong (CSHK)

9. Hong Kong Affairs Association of Berkeley (HKAAB)

10. Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles

11. Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston

12. Hong Kongers in San Diego

13. Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area

14. Lamp of Liberty

15. New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong (NY4HK)

16. New York University Hong Kong Student Advocacy Group (NYU HKSAG)

17. Northern California Hong Kong Club

18. NYC852HKER

19. Philly4HK

20. Students For Hong Kong

21. TX4HK

22. US Hongkongers Club

23. Washingtonians Supporting Hong Kong (DC4HK)

24. We The Hongkongers

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