Editor’s note: The following op-ed by Sen. Marco Rubio was originally published on Dec. 5, 2019.
As tensions remain high in Hong Kong, the United States has just sent its clearest message yet to Beijing: we will lead the world in standing with the people of Hong Kong as they defend their long-cherished freedoms and autonomy against the Chinese Communist Party’s growing aggression.
In November, President Trump signed my Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law, giving the U.S. powerful new tools to deter Beijing’s growing interference and malign influence in Hong Kong’s affairs. President Trump’s decision follows the act’s near-unanimous, bipartisan passage in Congress.
One of the new tools enabled by the law is enhanced authority to allow the administration to sanction individuals responsible for some of the most egregious violations of the civil rights guaranteed to Hong Kongers: extrajudicial rendition, arbitrary detention, torture, and forced confession, as well as other infringements of human rights.
Another requires the secretary of state to certify annually whether Hong Kong continues to warrant special status treatment under U.S. laws. The certification will include the secretary’s assessment of Hong Kong’s autonomy