Sunday, April 14, 2024

American House passes bill granting Hong Kong residents special refugee status

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The United States House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that would allow Hong Kong residents to live and work in the United States through a form of humanitarian relief reserved for people from areas affected by war, disaster natural or other dire circumstances.

The bill seeks to “protect Hong Kong people facing persecution under the increasingly tight grip of the Chinese government” by allowing Hong Kong residents who have been “targeted for exercising their democratic freedoms” to seek refuge in the country. United States, according to to a press release Monday from Rep. Tom Malinowski (D – NJ), one of the bill’s sponsors.

The act would allow Hong Kong residents who are already in the United States and who fear political persecution in Hong Kong to remain in the country. It would also speed up refugee claims from Hong Kong residents and exclude them from the U.S. government’s annual cap on refugee admissions, which the Trump administration has reduced. a record level earlier this year.

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Malinowski and Representative Adam Kinzinger (R – Ill.) Introduced the Bill, titled the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, which must obtain Senate approval and President Donald Trump’s signature before it becomes law.

The legislation – sponsored by Democratic and Republican representatives and moved by consensus across the room – highlights growth bipartisan unity in Washington on issues related to Hong Kong and Beijing.

The bill grants Hong Kong residents temporary protected status, a special U.S. immigration designation granted to people from areas deemed unsafe.

There is currently ten countries on the TPS list: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Trump administration last year decreases to extend the TPS to Venezuelans, when a predominantly Democratic coalition has proposed a bill to this effect.

According to the World Bank The data.

Passing the bill in the House is part of a series of actions by the U.S. government to counter Beijing’s perceived incursions into Hong Kong, a special administrative region in China with separate judicial, legal and financial structures for the continent and its own constitution, which guarantees it is a “high degree of autonomy” from the Chinese central government.

United States, United Kingdom and other countries critical Beijing’s implementation of a scanning National Security Act for Hong Kong in June as evidence of Beijing’s encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy and civil liberties. Experts see law as possible threat to Hong Kong’s status a freewheeling financial center.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo placed a visa restrictions on some Chinese officials and to close five US-Chinese cultural exchange programs, calling them “propaganda tools” for the Chinese government.

And Monday, Pompeo ad sanctions against 14 Chinese lawmakers for their involvement in the controversial national security law.

The Chinese government has yet to publicly comment on the passage of the bill in the House, but in the past, Beijing has consistently denounced US actions in Hong Kong as interference in China’s internal affairs. “China urges the US side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said, speaking of US sanctions against Chinese officials, during a statement. press conference Monday.

Since the National Security Act came into effect, several prominent pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have received prison sentences and opposition lawmakers were excluded of the city legislature.

In response to the National Security Act, the United Kingdom, which ruled Hong Kong as a British colony until 1997, announced a path British citizenship for certain residents of Hong Kong, and Germany and Canada have granted asylum to people from Hong Kong in recent months.

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