Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Remarks at Press Event on Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

September 18, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and bipartisan Members of Congress held a press event on H.R. 3289, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, bipartisan legislation to send the unequivocal message that the protesters of Hong Kong have the full support and backing of the United States in their quest for justice and freedom.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  This morning is a very special one.  We are here to welcome to the Capitol some very brave champions for democracy, for freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

It’s an honor to host Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Denise Ho – she’s with us – and other guests and other activists to the Capitol.  We thank them for conveying the courage and aspirations of the people of Hong Kong to the Congress.

For fifteen weeks, the protesters of Hong Kong have sent a strong, stirring message to the rest of the world: that the dreams of freedom and justice can never be extinguished by injustice and intimidation.

I have a lot to say on the subject, but I will be brief because we will get sooner to their remarks.  I’ll just say that in the United States Congress, we are swiftly advancing the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. 

We thank Chairman McGovern for his hearing and Representative Smith for their leadership on this bill.  Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith – Chairman Smith’s leadership on this goes way back.  In fact, on this particular bill, you’ve introduced, what, four times?

Congressman Smith.  Four times.

Speaker Pelosi.  Four different Congresses.  So, thank you for your leadership. 

To reaffirm our commitment to democracy and human rights and the rule of law in the face of Beijing’s crackdown, we will bring this bill to the Floor as soon as possible.

This bill is bipartisan, just as the Congress’s commitment to the people of Hong Kong is.  Democrats and Republicans, in the House and the Senate, enthusiastically support it, this legislation.  We stand united with Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Denise Ho and all who are fighting for a more hopeful future.

With that, I’m pleased to yield to Mr. McCaul.  We’re waiting for the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Engel, but we’re honored to have with us a champion for democratic freedoms, Mr. McCaul, the Ranking Member on the committee.  Mr. McCaul.

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Speaker Pelosi.  Nathan Law: we congratulate him on his leadership, we thank him for his courage and for honoring us with his presence here today. 

And then we go to the distinguished Chairman of so many things, the Rules Committee in the House and working on the [Congressional-Executive Commission on China], the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights, the list goes on and on.  He is our spiritual leader, in terms of human rights in Congress, Jim McGovern.

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Speaker Pelosi.  I just would like some of our other guests to do a shout-out of their name and affiliation. 

Anna Cheung.  Anna Cheung from Hong Kong-DC, the new NGO just organized and also launched yesterday.

Jeffrey Ngo.  I am Jeffrey Ngo, I am with Demosistō, along with Joshua and Nathan, and we have been working hard with this bill in order to get it passed.

Brian Leung.  I am Brian Leung.  I am an activist from Hong Kong and now a graduate student at the University of Washington.

Speaker Pelosi.  And Sam – where is Sam?

[Laughter]

Samuel Chu.  I am Samuel Chu.  I am the managing director with Anna for the new Hong Kong Democracy Council that is supporting and raising support and localizing Hong Kongers here in the U.S. in support of this great, bipartisan leadership that we are seeing.  

Speaker Pelosi.  Well, what an honor it is for us, as Members of Congress who take an oath to protect and defend our Constitution and all the freedoms contained therein, to see these champions for freedom in Hong Kong make the fight that they are making for not only Hong Kong, but for universal human rights.

The withdrawal of the extradition bill is a success that you’ve had.  It is welcome news, but, as we all know, it is not enough.  Much more must be done to fully realize the legitimate aspirations of the Hong Kong people in the guaranteed of ‘One Country, Two Systems.’

The people of Hong Kong deserve a future of justice and autonomy and freedom from fear that they were promised when Basic Law – and for which they have long been courageously fighting.

The pro-Beijing leadership in Hong Kong must ensure a political system accountable to the people, including guaranteed universal suffrage, as has been mentioned, and investigating police violence.  We associate ourselves with those aspirations and the larger aspiration of respecting the dignity and worth of every person in Hong Kong.

I’ve said over and over, in many circumstances, that we cannot let commercial interests drive our policy.  If we do not speak up because of commercial interests, in support of human rights in China, we lose all moral authority to speak up for them in any other place in the world.

So, we thank the leaders of Hong Kong for holding up – for challenging the conscience, not only of the Chinese government, but the conscience of the world.  We thank them for joining us and we are very proud of leadership in the Congress, in a bipartisan way, for their support of their courage – of the courage of the people of Hong Kong and of their efforts.

Thank you all very much.