WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott joined colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation to ban the U.S. export of crowd control equipment to the Hong Kong Police Force. Earlier this month, Senator Scott visited Hong Kong and saw firsthand the inhumane methods used by the Hong Kong police, answering to the Communist regime in China, to suppress and violate the rights of the people of Hong Kong.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Earlier this month, I traveled to Hong Kong to meet with protestors who are fighting every day for the basic human rights that are being denied to them by President Xi of Communist China. I heard terrible stories of police brutality, imprisonment and intimidation, and was horrified to learn about the inhumane crowd control tools used to silence protestors. We as Americans must stand up for human rights and American companies should stop supplying crowd control tools to Hong Kong authorities, who are doing the work of Communist China.”
The legislation was introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley and also co-sponsored by John Cornyn, Edward Markey, Marsha Blackburn, Patrick Leahy, Christopher Coons, Roger Wicker, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Benjamin Cardin, James Inhofe and Ron Wyden.
Senator Jeff Merkley said, “Peaceful protesters are being subjected to state-sponsored oppression, violence, and human rights abuses for demonstrating in support of a democratic future for Hong Kong. The U.S. should never be complicit in police violence against pro-democracy protests. As we support the voices calling for democratic reforms in Hong Kong, it’s time to ban the export of U.S.-made police equipment to Hong Kong.”
Senator Edward Markey said, “The United States must do what we can to prevent U.S. crowd-control equipment from making its way into the hands of repressive forces. The authorities in Hong Kong have responded to popular action with police misconduct. I call on the Hong Kong police to cease their overreach and to provide timely access to lawyers, family members, and medical professionals for persons in custody.”
Senator Marsha Blackburn said, “It is unacceptable that U.S. equipment is being used by Hong Kong police in the violent suppression of free speech. Our belief in freedom of expression is paramount to who we are as a nation. As we express our solidarity with the people of Hong Kong in their pro-democracy protests, we must extend that sentiment to reach our commercial sector.”
Senator Patrick Leahy said, “Words cannot adequately describe the bravery and determination of the citizens of Hong Kong who, day after day for months, have taken to the streets demanding democratic reforms and the protection of civil liberties. They have been met with increasing violence by the police, and the White House has said nothing. This bill would ensure that the United States is not associated with or facilitating the use of excessive force, by banning exports of the types of weapons that are being used to try to silence the protesters.”
Senator Christopher Coons said, “The United States must continue to support the rights of peaceful protestors in Hong Kong. This bill would underscore our insistence that the Hong Kong Police Force refrain from using violence or intimidation against those who are peacefully taking to the streets to demand a greater say over their daily lives.”
Senator Roger Wicker said, “The growing brutality of police toward protesters in Hong Kong cannot be ignored. This legislation would ensure that the United States is not in the business of providing the tools the Chinese Communist Party uses to oppress citizens peacefully protesting and demanding basic human rights.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “Our bipartisan bill will prevent American-made equipment from being used in violent crackdowns on peaceful democratic protesters in Hong Kong. I stand with the people of Hong Kong, and support their right to democracy and self-determination.”
Senator Benjamin Cardin said, “The United States of America should be a defender of democracy and human rights. We should in no way enable those who actively choose to violate the civil rights of their own people.”