China must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong
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The birth of our nation was anointed by the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson expressing the self-evident truths that we are all created equal. These unalienable rights we are endowed with: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, form the basis of our Western values. As Americans, we are blessed to live in a nation that enshrines these rights in the highest law of the land, our Constitution. It guarantees our freedoms and our democratic system of governance.

For decades, Hong Kong has stood as an autonomous bastion of democracy and Western values. After Great Britain’s legal 99-year lease of Hong Kong expired in 1997, control of Hong Kong was ceded to communist China. The transfer guaranteed that communist China would sustain Hong Kong’s economic and democratic political systems for 50 years. This became known as the “one country, two systems” policy that ensured economic prosperity and personal freedom. The territory has functioned as the economic gate to China — opening for trade with other nations and creating a better life for the people of Hong Kong through free market principles and personal liberty.

Unfortunately, this free Hong Kong was never wanted by communist China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been actively working to undermine the autonomy of the region. Their new “national security law” is a blatant and draconian power grab by the CCP to crush dissent, disagreement and free thought in Hong Kong.

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The law has nothing to do with “national security” — its purpose was to strip Hong Kong of its autonomy guaranteed under communist China’s agreement with Great Britain and give the CCP total control over the region. It gives authority to the communist Chinese government to extradite people from free Hong Kong to communist China for exercising their simple right to speak out against an authoritarian regime. In fact, in just the first day under the law, we saw the arrests of protesters demanding democracy. One man was arrested for simply holding a Hong Kong Independence flag.

Congress has an obligation to support the people of Hong Kong as they demand autonomy and democracy. We must hold the CCP accountable for their egregious actions. Last week, the House passed H.R.7083, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, by unanimous consent. This bill would penalize banks for doing business with Chinese officials that enforce these new restrictions on liberty. But we must do more.

I joined Reps. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulThe Global Fragility Act provides the tools to address long-term impacts of COVID House Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Hillicon Valley: Democrats request counterintelligence briefing | New pressure for election funding | Republicans urge retaliation against Chinese hackers MORE (R-Texas) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHuffPost reporter discusses progressives' successful showing on Tuesday Ex-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets Progressives soaring after big primary night MORE (D-N.Y.) in co-sponsoring H. Res. 1033, which condemns the Chinese communist government’s infringement of the guaranteed rights and freedoms of Hong Kong and reaffirms the United States’ solidarity with their people. It also urges the communist Chinese and Hong Kong governments to refrain from implementing this draconian law.

The CCP’s “national security law” is a dangerous and serious affront to freedom of speech and democratic values in Hong Kong, the region and across the world. It creates a China where Big Brother Xi Jinping’s authority knows no bounds and restricts the actions of protesters whose freedoms are being stolen from them. Worse, this law emboldens similar regimes to pass similar laws suppressing people’s right to free speech in their lands.

Two hundred and forty-four years ago, Americans fought a revolution in defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today, the people of Hong Kong are revolting against an oppressive tyranny. We have a sacred duty to support their quest. I urge my House colleagues to join me in co-sponsoring H.Res.1033 and holding President Xi and the communist Chinese government accountable for this heavy-handed, oppressive law.

Rep. Pete OlsonPeter (Pete) Graham OlsonTroy Nehls wins GOP primary in competitive Texas House district 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch China must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong MORE represents the 22nd District of Texas.