Text: H.Res.277 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (06/16/2003)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 277 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. RES. 277

              Expressing support for freedom in Hong Kong.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             June 16, 2003

Mr. Cox (for himself, Mr. DeLay, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Blunt, Mr. Lantos, Mr. 
  Goodlatte, Mr. Faleomavaega, Mr. Vitter, Mr. Wicker, Mr. Wilson of 
     South Carolina, Mr. Burgess, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. Kennedy of 
Minnesota, Mr. Markey, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, Mr. Barton of Texas, 
 Mr. Stearns, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Royce, Mr. Smith of Michigan, Ms. 
  Harris, Mr. Weller, Mr. Burton of Indiana, Mr. Shadegg, Mr. Lincoln 
   Diaz-Balart of Florida, Mr. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, and Mr. 
Sessions) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the 
                  Committee on International Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
              Expressing support for freedom in Hong Kong.

Whereas Hong Kong has long been the world's freest economy, renowned for its 
        rule of law and its jealous protection of civil rights and civil 
        liberties;
Whereas the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration explicitly guarantees that all 
        of Hong Kong's freedoms, including press freedom, religious freedom, and 
        freedom of association, will continue for at least 50 years;
Whereas the Government of the People's Republic of China pledged to respect Hong 
        Kong's Basic Law of 1990, which explicitly protects freedom of speech, 
        of the press and of publication, of association, of assembly, of 
        procession, of demonstration, and of communication;
Whereas the Basic Law also explicitly protects freedom of conscience, religious 
        belief, and of religious expression;
Whereas Hong Kong's traditional rule of law, which has guaranteed all of these 
        civil rights and civil liberties, is essential to its continued freedom, 
        and the erosion of that rule of law bodes ill for the maintenance and 
        expansion of both economic freedom and individual civil rights;
Whereas in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 Congress declared: 
        ``The human rights of the people of Hong Kong are of great importance to 
        the United States and are directly relevant to United States interests 
        in Hong Kong. A fully successful transition in the exercise of 
        sovereignty over Hong Kong must safeguard human rights in and of 
        themselves. Human rights also serve as a basis for Hong Kong's continued 
        economic prosperity.'';
Whereas since Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the 
        People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997, the Hong Kong authorities 
        have changed the system of electing representatives to the Legislative 
        Council, added appointed members to District Councils, invited the 
        central government to reverse Hong Kong courts, and declined to permit 
        the entry of some American visitors and other foreign nationals whose 
        views are opposed by the People's Republic of China;
Whereas, despite the provisions of the Basic Law which call for a gradual and 
        orderly process toward democratic election of the legislature and chief 
        executive, and which call for universal suffrage, the Government of the 
        Hong Kong SAR and the People's Republic of China have stymied this 
        process;
Whereas the traditional liberties of Hong Kong's 7,000,000 people are now 
        immediately threatened by Hong Kong's proposed ``Article 23'' laws, 
        which were drafted under strong pressure from the Government of the 
        People's Republic of China, dealing with sedition, treason, and 
        subversion against the Chinese Communist Party, and the theft of state 
        secrets;
Whereas the proposed legislation would give the Hong Kong Government discretion 
        to imprison individuals for ``attempting to commit'' the undefined crime 
        of ``subversion''; would criminalize not only membership in, but even 
        attendance at meetings of, organizations not approved by Beijing; and 
        would threaten freedom of religion, membership in authentic trade 
        unions, political activity of all kinds, and a wide range of public and 
        private expression;
Whereas the proposed legislation would give Hong Kong's Secretary for Security, 
        an appointee of the Government of the People's Republic of China, broad 
        authority to ban organizations it deemed in opposition to the national 
        interest, thereby threatening religious organizations such as the Falun 
        Gong and the Roman Catholic Church;
Whereas under the proposed legislation such basic and fundamental procedural 
        rights as notice and opportunity to be heard could be waived by the 
        appointee of the Government of the People's Republic of China in Hong 
        Kong if honoring these rights ``would not be practicable'';
Whereas the People's Republic of China's history of arbitrary application of its 
        own criminal law against dissenters, and its pattern of imprisoning and 
        exiling those with whom it disagrees, provide strong reasons to oppose 
        the expansion of Beijing's ability to use its discretion against Hong 
        Kong's freedoms;
Whereas similar subversion laws in the People's Republic of China are regularly 
        used to convict and imprison journalists, labor activists, Internet 
        entrepreneurs, and academics;
Whereas broad segments of the Hong Kong community have expressed strong concerns 
        about, and opposition to, the proposed new laws;
Whereas those members of Hong Kong's Legislative Council elected by universal 
        suffrage oppose the proposed new laws, but are powerless to stop them 
        against the majority of votes controlled directly and indirectly by the 
        Government of the People's Republic of China;
Whereas the scheduled consideration of these proposals to restrict Hong Kong's 
        freedoms in the Legislative Council on July 9, 2003, makes the threat to 
        its people clear and imminent; and
Whereas it is the duty of freedom loving people everywhere to stand with the 
        people of Hong Kong against this dangerous erosion of its long-held and 
        cherished rights: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
            (1) condemns any restriction of the freedom of thought, 
        expression, or association in Hong Kong, consistent with the 
        United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992;
            (2) recognizes that because Hong Kong exercises 
        considerable influence in international affairs, as a developed 
        economy, financial center, trading entrepot and shipping 
        center, reductions in the existing freedom of the Hong Kong 
        people would be of global significance;
            (3) urges the Hong Kong Government and the People's 
        Republic of China to withdraw the proposed implementation of 
        Article 23 of the Basic Law insofar as it would reduce the 
        basic human freedoms of the people of Hong Kong;
            (4) calls upon the People's Republic of China, the National 
        People's Congress, and any other groups appointed by the 
        Government of the People's Republic of China to leave all 
        revisions of Hong Kong law to a legislature elected by 
        universal suffrage;
            (5) urges immediate elections for the Legislative Council 
        of Hong Kong according to rules approved by the Hong Kong 
        people through an election-law convention, referendum, or both;
            (6) calls upon the Government of the People's Republic of 
        China to fully respect the autonomy and independence of the 
        chief executive, the civil service, the judiciary, the police 
        of Hong Kong, and the Independent Commission Against 
        Corruption; and
            (7) calls upon the United States Government, other 
        governments, the people of the United States, and the people of 
        the world to support freedom in Hong Kong by--
                    (A) making clear statements against any limitations 
                on existing human freedoms in Hong Kong; and
                    (B) transmitting those statements to the people and 
                the Government of the People's Republic of China.
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