U.S. lawmakers set resolution condemning China over Hong Kong rights

FILE PHOTO: Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) questions witnesses during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing looking into the firing of State Department Inspector General Steven Linick, on Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C., U.S., September 16, 2020. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan resolution on Friday condemning actions by the Chinese government and local authorities in Hong Kong that they said violated rights and freedoms in the city.

The resolution adds to growing calls in the U.S. Congress for President Joe Biden’s administration to push Communist Party rulers in Beijing to respect human rights.

House lawmakers on Thursday reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region unless it is certified they are not produced with forced labor, and allow further sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for abuses against Uighur Muslims.

Lead sponsors of the Hong Kong resolution introduced on Friday include Representative Greg Meeks, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representative Michael McCaul, the panel’s top Republican.

Critics see a sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing in June 2020 as a blunt tool to stifle dissent and curb media freedom and other liberties in the former British colony of Hong Kong, that returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The law calls for tougher media regulation and supervision.

The government says Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms, guaranteed under the handover agreement, remain intact.

Since the law was introduced, many prominent pro-democracy activists and politicians have been arrested, while some songs and slogans have been banned, along with anything that may be considered political activity in schools.

The resolution introduced on Friday encourages the Biden administration to work with other countries to hold the Chinese government accountable and to push U.S. companies to be aware of the risks the Chinese national security legislation poses to U.S. security, citizens and long-term business interests.

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