Pelosi: Hong Kong ‘Is a Real Tragedy’

July 2, 2020 Updated: July 2, 2020

WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned on July 2 mass arrests in Hong Kong that have taken place during protests this week against China’s new national security law.

“I’m disappointed, obviously, in the arrest of anyone who’s speaking out peacefully for democratic freedoms,” she said, in response to a question by The Epoch Times during a press conference.

The House of Representatives on July 1 unanimously passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, in retaliation to Beijing’s draconian new national security law, which came into effect in Hong Kong on July 1.

The Senate on July 2 also approved by unanimous consent the House-approved version of the bill, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk for signature. The bill will allow the U.S. government to sanction Chinese individuals, firms, and banks that erode Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Pelosi said the U.S. legislation will “help end China’s campaign of cruelty” against the city.

“This is a real tragedy. It’s so sad,” she added.

On July 1, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on the implications of Beijing’s national security law in Hong Kong.

“It was so encouraging to see the room was an overflow crowd of members from both sides of the aisle,” Pelosi said, referring to the hearing.

‘It has been, for me, a joy to be bonding with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of Capitol on this very important issue. And the Republicans had been there every step of the way,” she said.

“I hope the president will be.”

The bill has significant implications for financial institutions operating in Hong Kong, as it penalizes lenders doing business with Chinese officials involved in the controversial security law. According to a Bloomberg article, the bill puts $1.1 trillion funding for China’s largest banks at stake.

Global banks are also at risk, according to the report, as they may have Chinese officials and their relatives as customers.

Pelosi raised a question about whether Hong Kong’s national security legislation will punish people retroactively.

“Does this apply to all of the protests for democratic freedoms that have happened in Hong Kong? I don’t know the answer to that. The Chinese government does. And, unfortunately, they’re not sharing that with us right now.”

On June 30, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, which would designate the residents of Hong Kong as Priority 2 refugees, accelerating their admission process to the United States when at risk of persecution.

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