WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs issued the following statement on the current situation in Hong Kong:
“The people who have taken to the streets of Hong Kong are doing the right thing to protect their homeland and the integrity of its democracy. I strongly support their right to peacefully demonstrate in support of basic civil and human rights. I urge all parties to ensure these protests remain peaceful and to work together through constructive dialogue to reach a positive way forward.”
“I am deeply concerned by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s decision to prohibit the people of Hong Kong from freely choosing their next Chief Executive. Beijing has a responsibility to exercise restraint and to adhere to its commitment to the Basic Law and avoid directly or indirectly provoking unrest. The events unfolding in Hong Kong remind us that we must work every day to protect democratic progress and defend against grave threats to civil society.”
Senator Cardin also serves as Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and was lead sponsor of a Senate Resolution recognizing the International Day of Democracy on September 15. The resolution, co-sponsored by Senator John McCain, affirms the role of civil society as a cornerstone of democracy, and encourages all governments to stand with civil society in the face of mounting restrictions on civil society organizations.