On Friday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting additional information on the administration’s plan to support Hong Kongers seeking refuge from Communist China following the revocation of Hong Kong’s special status.
The letter is below.
Dear Secretary Pompeo,
This month marks one year of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. I applaud President Trump’s decision to hold Communist China accountable for breaking its long-standing agreement with Hong Kong by revoking Hong Kong’s special status. This was a bold and necessary step, as Beijing continues its quest for authoritarian control of Hong Kong and its people. These brave Hong Kongers deserve the freedom they were promised and have enjoyed for decades under the treaty that established the “one country, two systems” framework.
As U.S. Senator, and Governor of Florida for 8 years, I have had the privilege and the opportunity to represent Floridians from all over the world. Many of these wonderful Floridians had to flee their country of birth and risk everything for a safer and more prosperous life in the United States. Many have shared stories of the injustice they faced in their home country and the sacrifices their families made to achieve the American dream through hard work, education and faith. I will always support those fighting for freedom.
As Governor, I urged President Trump to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians who could not return to Haiti due to a natural disaster. Many Haitians have ties to Florida through business or family, and ensuring the protected status for this hardworking community remains a top priority. I have led legislation to grant TPS for Venezuelans and pushed for tougher sanctions on Cuba’s Communist regime, which is directly responsible for supporting the ruthless dictatorships in Venezuela and Nicaragua, and the unrest we’ve seen for decades in Latin America.
I am committed to ending ruthless regimes and promoting freedom and democracy around the world. Unfortunately, many Floridians know life firsthand under oppressive dictators like Raul Castro, Nicolas Maduro and Daniel Ortega.
Unfortunately, these ruthless dictators are not contained to Latin America, as we are seeing these same authoritarian tactics imposed on the people of Hong Kong by General Secretary of the Communist Party Xi, a dictator and confirmed human rights violator. Last week, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) passed a resolution to establish a national security law for Hong Kong, rather than through Hong Kong’s own legislative system. This violates Beijing’s international obligations under the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration. This is a deliberate move to take control of Hong Kong and is another example of how the Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted. Under this new law, the city’s autonomy will disintegrate and freedoms would disappear. Security forces will be allowed to operate in Hong Kong and crackdown on dissent as they do and have on China’s mainland for decades. This move by Communist China declares Hong Kong no longer autonomous from the Chinese Communist Party, and by extension, further threatens Hong Kongers’ freedom and personal safety. I write today to ask:
- How does the State Department’s decision to no longer consider Hong Kong to have significant autonomy under Chinese rule affect the current visa process for Hong Kongers?
- Does the State Department have a plan for protecting the vulnerable Hong Kongers, especially the pro-democracy population looking for refuge outside Hong Kong?
- Has the administration considered a plan to provide humanitarian assistance for Hong Kongers who wish to flee Hong Kong?
- What mechanisms are in place to ensure Chinese Communist Party members and sympathizers are not eligible for any U.S. humanitarian refugee assistance?
Thank you for your continued efforts to help promote freedom and democracy across the globe, and I look forward to working with you to protect those fleeing oppressive regimes.