SENATE PANEL HEARS OF CONCERNS ABOUT CHINA CONTROL OF HONG KONG

Byline: Joyce Barrett

WASHINGTON — Anxieties over Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese rule, set for July 1, were aired on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Martin Lee, Hong Kong Democratic Party chairman, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “Today, China’s policy towards Hong Kong can be summarized in a single word: control.”
The Democratic Party won the largest number of seats in Hong Kong’s legislature in 1995 elections.
U.S. leaders, Lee said, need to speak out forcefully against recent Chinese actions. On Wednesday it was reported that China planned to impose stringent controls on the rights of public protest and free association in Hong Kong. That announcement was seen as a severe blow to civil liberties and was denounced by Hong Kong politicians.
“It’s important the right message is brought home to the Chinese leaders,” he said. “We’re entirely in the hands of the Chinese leaders.”
Lee also asked that policy makers continue to visit Hong Kong, especially after the July 1 reversion.
Since the early Seventies, Hong Kong has been one of the largest foreign suppliers of textiles and apparel to the U.S. It also is the eighth largest trader in the world.
Panel chairman Jesse Helms (R., N.C.), spoke out harshly against China’s recent actions. “China appears to regard the United States as a fair-weather friend to Hong Kong,” Helms said. “They are flat out wrong. The U.S. Congress is in this relationship for the long haul…The U.S. will build and maintain a relationship with Hong Kong in areas of trade and law enforcement.”

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