US Senators Urge UNSC Leadership to Hold an ‘Immediate’ Meeting on Hong Kong

May 29, 2020 Updated: May 29, 2020

A bipartisan group of Senators on May 28 called for an “immediate” meeting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Beijing’s move to impose the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) so-called “national security” legislation on Hong Kong.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) joined leading members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday in penning a letter to the current and incoming president of the UNSC on the matter.

“In your nations’ capacities as the current and incoming president of the UNSC, we write to strongly support the USUN’s call for an immediate UNSC meeting on recent actions taken by the Chinese government to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and infringe on the rights and freedoms promised to the Hong Kong people,” the senators wrote.

Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) are among the signatories of the letter.

The group of senators issued the letter hours after China’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), passed a draft resolution of Beijing’s national security legislation. It also followed a statement from the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) that said China is blocking its calls for an urgent meeting at the UNSC on the security bill.

The U.S. Mission said Wednesday that it had scheduled a virtual meeting of the 15-member Security Council to discuss the issue, which it described as “a matter of urgent global concern that implicates international peace and security.”

“Unsurprisingly,” the U.S. Mission said, the CCP has blocked the meeting from proceeding in the Security Council.

“This is another example of the Chinese Communist Party’s fear of transparency and international accountability for its actions, and belief that it can exploit the current global health pandemic to distract the world from its intended assault on Hong Kong and abrogation of its own commitments to the Hong Kong people,” the statement read.

The law, which was designed to allow Beijing to bypass Hong Kong’s own legislature, bans acts of “secession, subversion, and terrorism activities” against China’s ruling CCP, and has attracted condemnation both inside and outside Hong Kong.

It reignited mass protests in the city, with tens of thousands of Hong Kongers voicing their opposition to Beijing’s law in protests on May 24. Further protests have been planned for the coming weeks.

Many fear that the law would be used by Beijing to suppress and persecute dissenting voices. Local anti-CCP advocates, human rights advocates, pro-democracy advocates, and lawmakers note that the “national security” laws are frequently used to prosecute and jail dissidents in the mainland.

The U.S. Mission argued Wednesday that the meeting at the U.N. was necessary as the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration is “a legally binding treaty registered with the UN.”

It said that China’s refusal to allow a Security Council meeting on the matter to proceed, coupled with “its gross cover-up and mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis, its constant violations of its international human rights commitments, and its unlawful behavior in the South China Sea, should make obvious to all that Beijing is not behaving as a responsible U.N. member state.”

“We call on the PRC to immediately reverse course and honor its promises under the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the statement concluded.

The statement echoed calls from the lawmakers, who stated in their letter Thursday that Beijing’s latest actions are “a clear violation of its binding international commitments, including the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, and undermine the ability for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to remain in force in Hong Kong as guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”

“These actions warrant the immediate attention of the UNSC. We hope in your capacities as the current and incoming President of the UNSC, you will support this call for a virtual meeting at the UNSC without delay.”

Beijing has blocked @USUN call for a Security Council meeting on#HongKong @UN member states should push back & actually stand for human rights. @USAmbUN must keep the pressure on #China so Beijing can’t profit from breaking the Sino-UK Joint Declaration. 加油!#StandwithHongKong,” Rubio said on Twitter Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday declared that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous following the CCP’s recent move to tighten its grip over the city.

“Today, I reported to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, given facts on the ground,” Pompeo said in a tweet. “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.”

President Donald Trump on Tuesday promised a “very interesting” response from his administration “before the end of the week” after seeing that the regime was likely to go ahead with the law. It is still unclear whether Trump will opt for what has been called the “nuclear option”—stripping Hong Kong of its special economic status that the United States has conferred on it since the end of British rule more than two decades ago.

The state department has yet to respond to a query from The Epoch Times.

Eva Fu contributed to this report.