WASHINGTON, DC - On the heels of the U.S. Senate unanimously approving the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, and the U.S. House of Representatives voting 417 to 1 in favor of the bill, President Trump – who pledged to be ‘tough on China’ - is now waffling over whether he will sign the bill into law.

Cosponsored by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act supports human rights and democracy in Hong Kong amidst an escalating crackdown and interference by the Chinese Communist Party. This legislation would impose financial sanctions or travel restrictions against foreign persons determined to be responsible for extrajudicial rendition, arbitrary detention, torture, or forced confession of people in Hong Kong, or other gross violations of human rights in Hong Kong.

Trump Administration officials initially indicated President Trump would sign the bill, however, after China demanded he veto it, President Trump appears to have backed down, telling reporters: “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine.”

Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed issued the following statement:

“President Trump’s simplistic, personalist view of foreign policy is a coup for Beijing’s repressive style of government, but it weakens America and undermines our values.  President Trump should not betray America’s core values or the people of Hong Kong.  His incompetent and destructive trade war has been a complete disaster and he seems to think that kowtowing to Xi now will miraculously change that fact.  It won’t.  Instead of fawning over Xi, he should be urging him to call off the brutal campaign of repression in both Hong Kong and Xinjiang and engage in serious diplomacy.  Signing the bipartisan Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is the right thing to do and it would show China’s Communist Party leaders that the United States does not back down from upholding human rights or democracy.  The American people and the United States Congress clearly stand with the people of Hong Kong, even if President Trump does not.”