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Hong Kong’s Future in the Balance: Eroding Autonomy and Challenges to Human Rights

  • 2255 Rayburn House Office Building (map)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

10am-12pm

2255 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S.-Hong Kong relations are based on maintaining the "one country, two systems" framework, a high degree of autonomy from mainland China, and the fundamental rights and rule of law guaranteed to Hong Kong in the Basic Law and the 1984 Sino-British Declaration. There are serious concerns that Hong Kong’s autonomy and its guaranteed freedoms are being eroded by increasing interference from the Chinese government in Hong Kong affairs. Since the 2014 democracy protests (“Umbrella Movement”), the Chinese Government and Hong Kong authorities have taken active steps to stifle political participation and speech and prosecute pro-democracy advocates, among them student leaders Joshua Wong and Nathan Law and Occupy Central organizers Benny Tai and Chan Kin-man.             

The past year has been particularly troubling as the Hong Kong government banned the Hong Kong National Party, disqualified political candidates for their political views, and expelled foreign journalist and Financial Times news editor Victor Mallet. Equally alarming are the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws which, if passed, will allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China, where the criminal justice system is regularly used as a tool of repression against political dissenters and rights advocates. In all these cases, the Hong Kong government appears to be working closely with, or reflecting the interests of, the mainland Chinese Government. 

This hearing will examine Hong Kong’s future and the future of U.S.-China relations in light of the continued attrition of the “one country, two systems” framework and Hong Kong’s autonomy. Witnesses will provide first-hand testimonies of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and the challenges they have faced in fighting for democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. The panel will provide details about current events in Hong Kong and offer recommendations for the U.S. Administration and Congress.

Witnesses:

Martin Lee, founding chairman of the Democratic Party and former member of the Legislative Council 

Nathan Law, founding chairman of Demosisto and former member of the Legislative Council

Mak Yin Ting, journalist and former chair of the Hong Kong Journalists Association

Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and member of the Executive Committee of Hong Kong Civil Hub