Ambassador Kelly Craft
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 29, 2020
Thank you, Sven.
In 1984, the People’s Republic of China made a promise to the United Kingdom and the People of Hong Kong. It was a binding promise. A solemn promise witnessed by this very community and registered here at the UN as a formal treaty. But today, the Council must confront the shameful fact that China’s promise was empty from the start.
That’s why the United States has joined the United Kingdom in calling for an AOB discussion today. Recent actions by the Chinese Communist Party, and recent developments in Hong Kong, are not merely a matter of civil protest. What has occurred in recent days contradicts China’s treaty obligations and implicates international peace and security.
As we all know, on May 28, the People’s Republic of China National People’s Congress approved a resolution to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong.
With the approval of this resolution, the NPC has sounded a death knell for Hong Kong’s autonomy. It is an act in direct conflict with China’s international obligations under the UN-registered, Sino-British Joint Declaration.
For many years, Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom and enterprise, and it’s no secret as to why. Direct imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by authorities in Beijing would plainly threaten the high degree of autonomy that has made Hong Kong so dynamic, prosperous, and secure.
This action raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, as well as the presence of mainland intelligence and security forces operating outside of local laws. It would fundamentally undermine existing commitments to protect the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong. Indeed, what we are seeing today is that China does not have the respect for the rule of law that it claims to possess.
Just as we have all learned during the COVID-19 crisis, at the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and elsewhere, the PRC abhors transparency and fulfills its own international commitments and obligations only when its convenient for the Chinese Communist Party. The PRC’s actions to undermine the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law eviscerates the free society that has underpinned Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability since 1997 and are part of this larger, unfortunate pattern of behavior.
The PRC’s imposition of the new national security legislation on Hong Kong risks destabilizing Hong Kong in the very way PRC leaders say they want to avoid. Hong Kong and its dynamic, enterprising, and free people have flourished for decades as a bastion of liberty. They deserve to retain that liberty.
Today, we call on the PRC to immediately reverse course and honor its promises. And as we issue this call, the Trump Administration stands – immovably – with the people of Hong Kong.
The question before us in the Council today comes down to this: are we going to take the honorable stand to defend the human rights and dignified way of life that millions of Hong Kong citizens have enjoyed and deserved like all freedom-loving people around the world, or are we going to allow the government in Beijing to undermine their international legal commitments and force their will on the people of Hong Kong who look to us to preserve their way of life and just cause?
Please join the United States, the United Kingdom, and other UN member states to support democracy and the will of the people, rather than the nefarious aspirations of the Chinese Communist Party.