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(Washington, D.C.) – As protestors in Hong Kong continue to push for democracy, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) issued the following statement on Senate passage of the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act yesterday.

“This bipartisan bill is an affirmation that the United States stands in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and supports their demands for democratic government and autonomy,” Senator Murray said. “I am glad to see Democrats and Republicans come together to assert that as a country we will not waiver in our efforts to promote democracy and stand up against human rights abuses in Hong Kong.”

Building on the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, this amended bipartisan bill would require the Secretary of State to certify, no less than annually, whether Hong Kong continues to warrant special treatment under U.S. law based on the autonomy of its government decision-making related to human rights, law enforcement and extradition requests, universal suffrage, judicial independence, police and security functions, export controls, and sanctions enforcement. The legislation would also mandate the President to impose sanctions against foreign persons determined to be responsible for extrajudicial rendition, arbitrary detention, torture, or forced confession of people in Hong Kong, or other gross violations of human rights in Hong Kong. In addition, the bill would task the Executive Branch to develop a strategy to protect American citizens and others in Hong Kong from rendition or abduction to China, and to report annually to Congress on violations of U.S. export controls laws and United Nations sanctions occurring in Hong Kong. The House passed similar legislation last month; it must now vote on the Senate legislation before the bill can be signed into law.

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