STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

House approves bills supporting pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong

The House of Representatives sent a clear rebuke to Beijing and reaffirmed American support...

Posted: Oct 16, 2019 3:56 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2019 3:57 AM

The House of Representatives sent a clear rebuke to Beijing and reaffirmed American support for pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on Tuesday afternoon, as police have intensified crackdowns on protesters in the semiautonomous region in recent weeks.

Lawmakers approved the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act after demonstrators in the city of 7 million took to the streets earlier this week to urge the US Congress to approve the measure. The bill, which was seen as an uncontroversial measure because of its broad bipartisan support, passed by voice vote because a recorded vote was not requested.

"Democrats and Republicans in the House and in the Senate stand united with the people of Hong Kong," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "If America does not speak out for human rights in China because of commercial interest, then we lose all moral authority to speak out for human rights anyplace in the world."

"Today the House is proud to pass the bicameral, bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to reaffirm America's commitment to democracy," said the California Democrat.

The bill would mandate an annual review to determine whether Hong Kong's autonomy from the mainland Chinese government remains sufficient to justify the special treatment the financial hub receives under US law.

It would also lay out a process for the President to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on those who are found to be knowingly responsible for threatened or carried out arbitrary detention, torture, forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong, contraventions of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong's autonomy, or other violations of internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong.

The Senate version of the legislation is still awaiting a floor vote. The Senate bill differs slightly from the House measure -- a Senate aide involved in the process said the chamber is likely to pass its own version, meaning the House may have to take up the issue again later on, after the Senate holds its vote.

House members on Tuesday afternoon also passed by voice vote two other Hong Kong-related measures: a resolution supportive of the protesters and the PROTECT Hong Kong Act. The latter would halt US exports of nonlethal crowd control equipment, such as rubber bullets and tear gas, to the Hong Kong police until an independent investigation into human rights concerns is completed, those concerns are adequately addressed by the Hong Kong government and the White House determines that Hong Kong law enforcement has not engaged in human rights violations for a year.

Even as President Donald Trump has remained largely silent on the Hong Kong protests amid trade talks with the Chinese government, members of Congress from both parties -- widely in agreement on the question of the Chinese Communist Party's human rights abuses and oppression of its citizens -- have sided with the protesters.

RELATED: Trump promised Xi US silence on Hong Kong democracy protests as trade talks stalled

The protests have gripped Hong Kong for months. They began in early June, when more than a million people marched against a bill that would have allowed individuals in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The city's unelected leader, Carrie Lam, has since scrapped the bill. But the movement has remained strong, in an effort to secure democratic reforms in Hong Kong, as well as an independent inquiry into allegations of police misconduct.

Interactions between protesters and police have become more violent in recent weeks — at the beginning of October, a police officer shot an 18-year-old protester in the chest with a live round during an exceptionally chaotic day.

Arrests have also ramped up. Last week, Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said that more than 2,300 people have been arrested during the protests, 750 of whom are under 18.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19978

Reported Deaths: 338
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah460893
Washington292124
Marion275568
Umatilla214126
Clackamas146438
Malheur71512
Deschutes5558
Lane5403
Jackson4211
Lincoln4149
Yamhill40412
Union3922
Jefferson3323
Morrow3272
Polk30112
Linn26310
Klamath2001
Hood River1780
Wasco1723
Benton1626
Douglas1401
Josephine1082
Coos890
Columbia860
Clatsop830
Crook421
Baker360
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Curry140
Sherman140
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 530606

Reported Deaths: 9808
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1981654827
Riverside38487738
Orange38131665
San Bernardino34237487
San Diego30516568
Kern21433152
Fresno15945157
Alameda12136193
San Joaquin12034187
Santa Clara11030192
Sacramento10174148
Tulare10078193
Imperial9513232
Stanislaus9308135
Contra Costa8324131
Ventura787777
San Francisco708162
Santa Barbara652664
San Mateo5758120
Marin518076
Monterey496634
Merced458351
Kings445356
Solano380638
Sonoma320842
Madera211432
Placer199819
San Luis Obispo197016
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa10079
Sutter8406
San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta4049
Colusa3594
Glenn3462
Mendocino3419
Nevada3161
Tehama2491
Humboldt2454
Lake2111
Mono1461
Tuolumne1442
Amador1370
Calaveras1361
Del Norte900
Siskiyou880
Inyo661
Mariposa592
Plumas330
Trinity50
Modoc40
Sierra30
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Broken Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 67°
Brookings
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 63°
Crater Lake
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 62°
Grants Pass
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 66°
Klamath Falls
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 62°
Warming up into the weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events