A bill authored by US senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) proposes to remove certain privileges that the US has granted to Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs) since Hong Kong is now controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The privileges were established assuming that Hong Kong would remain free of the CCP. Currently, the US no longer recognizes Hong Kong as autonomous following the enactment of Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
To require the President to remove the extension of certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices if Hong Kong no longer enjoys a high degree of autonomy from the People’s Republic of China, and for other purposes.
Senator Rubio commented, “Hong Kong is unfortunately neither autonomous nor democratic as China’s genocidal regime continues to undermine the city’s basic freedoms. Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices no longer merit diplomatic immunities in our nation, as such, their privileges must be revoked. I urge the Senate to swiftly pass this legislation.”
Senator Merkley remarked, “The sad reality is that the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices now serve as propaganda arms of the Chinese government. Committee passage of this bipartisan bill is a strong step forward in defense of the people of Hong Kong.”
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.