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Knowledge Base

Keeping Hong Kong Free

Larry Diamond: Policies to Promote Freedom in Hong Kong

  1. The authoritarian rulers in Beijing and Hong Kong must be made to pay a heavy price for destroying what remains of freedom in Hong Kong. To support the people of Hong Kong, the United States and other established democracies must provide them with strong moral, geopolitical, and material support.
  2. Travel bans and asset freezes should be applied to officials in Beijing and Hong Kong for trampling the rights of the Hong Kong people. We should also lobby our democratic allies—including Britain, Canada, and Australia—to join us in sanctioning key officials. 
  3. Revoking Hong Kong’s special trade privileges is a more challenging step since it will hurt the city’s people. Still, we must gradually clarify to members of the city’s business and financial elite that they will pay a high price for falling in line with Beijing’s commands.
  4. The support should be extended to Hong Kong’s independent media and civil society organizations. These include new digital media and advocacy organizations that may need to partly base themselves abroad to evade repression.
  5. A special immigrant visa should be granted to anyone in Hong Kong who is at risk of repression.

It is important to remember that we are not endorsing Hong Kong separatism or trying to “break up” China. Rather, we are asking the leaders of the People’s Republic of China to respect their own legal and treaty commitments to Hong Kong’s autonomy, under the Basic Law and the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. 

More importantly, we are asking China to respect the hard-won rights of the people of Hong Kong—including the right to govern themselves.