U.S. House passes Hong Kong ‘Democracy Act’

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News:The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a Hong Kong Democracy Act.

Facts:

Why was the bill passed?

  • Hong Kong has been experiencing protests against a proposed law to allow extradition to mainland China but it has since transformed into a larger pro-democracy movement.
  • The protests have also increasingly turned violent with police being accused of brutality.

What the bill says?

  • The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act involves an annual review of whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from China to justify its special trading status under US law.
  • The Bill urges China to uphold its commitments to Hong Kong which includes allowing Hong Kongers to govern with a high degree of autonomy and without undue interference.
  • It also states that Hong Kong voters should freely enjoy the right to elect the chief executive and all members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council by universal suffrage.
  • The Bill also adds that the US should allow Hong Kong residents to obtain visas to work or study in the United States even if they have been arrested for being part of non-violent protests supporting human rights or the rule of law.
  • In addition,those found responsible for abducting and torturing people for exercising internationally recognised human rights in Hong Kong would be sanctioned and barred from entering the US, should the measure become law.

How did China react?

  • China has asked the United States to stop meddling in China‚Äôs internal affairs.
  • China has said that its relationship with the United States would be damaged should the bill become law,

What is Hong Kong’s status?

  • Hong Kong is a former British colony which was handed back to China in 1997.
  • It has its own judiciary and a separate legal system from mainland China.Those rights include freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.
  • But those freedoms expires in 2047 and it is not clear what Hong Kong’s status will then be.