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Keeping Hong Kong Free

“The End of Hong Kong As We Knew It” by Larry Diamond

“If Beijing now appears set on crossing the Rubicon to decimate Hong Kong’s autonomy, it must be made to pay a heavy price for doing so. The people of Hong Kong need strong moral, geopolitical, and material support from the United States and other established democracies. Should Beijing proceed with its announced plan, the Secretary of State must report, under the terms of the 1992 U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act, that Hong Kong is no longer ‘sufficiently autonomous’ to justify its special status with respect to trade and access to technology. 

“Under the terms of the 2019 Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the United States should identify the specific individuals—both in Beijing and in Hong Kong—responsible for trampling on the rights and autonomy of the Hong Kong people, and impose targeted sanctions, blocking their assets in the United States and revoking or denying visas for them and their family members. It is important that we lobby our democratic allies—including Britain, Canada, and Australia—to join us in these measures. Revoking Hong Kong’s special trade privileges is a tougher step, since it will hurt the city’s people, but we must gradually make clear to the city’s business and financial elite that they will pay a high price for falling in line with Beijing’s commands.

“Beyond this, Hong Kong’s brave democrats need help. As these new national security measures take effect, democratic leaders in the city will be at grave risk. They need steadfast moral and diplomatic support from democracies and democrats worldwide. We should also do much more to help Hong Kong’s independent media and civil society organizations, including new digital media and advocacy efforts that may now need (as in other autocracies) to base themselves partly abroad to evade repression. And we should grant a special immigrant visa to anyone in Hong Kong who is at risk of repression.”

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