Public Law No: 116-76 (11/27/2019)
Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019
This bill directs various departments to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under U.S. law. (Hong Kong is part of China but has a largely separate legal and economic system.)
The Department of State shall report and certify annually to Congress as to whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous from China to justify its unique treatment. The report shall address issues including (1) demands for universal suffrage; (2) law enforcement cooperation, including extradition requests; (3) sanctions enforcement and export controls; (4) decision-making within the Hong Kong government; (5) judicial independence; (6) civil liberties in Hong Kong, including freedom of assembly and freedom of the press; and (7) how any erosion to Hong Kong’s autonomy impacts areas of U.S.-Hong Kong cooperation.
The Department of Commerce shall report annually to Congress on China’s efforts to use Hong Kong to evade U.S. export controls and sanctions and the extent of such violations occurring in Hong Kong generally. The report shall also (1) identify any items that were improperly reexported from Hong Kong, (2) assess whether dual-use items subject to U.S. export laws are being transshipped through Hong Kong, and (3) assess whether such dual-use items are being used to develop various mass-surveillance and predictive-policing tools or the social-credit system proposed for deployment in China.
If the President determines that Hong Kong has proposed or enacted legislation that puts U.S. citizens at risk of extradition to mainland China or to another country that lacks defendants’ rights protections, the President shall report to Congress on (1) a strategy for protecting U.S. citizens and businesses in Hong Kong, and (2) whether Hong Kong is legally competent to administer various law-enforcement agreements between Hong Kong and the United States.
The State Department may not deny work- or student-visa applications from an otherwise qualified Hong Kong resident due to a politically motivated adverse action by the Hong Kong government against the applicant. The State Department shall encourage other democratic countries to take a similar approach.
The President shall report to Congress a list of individuals responsible for committing acts that violate internationally recognized human rights in Hong Kong, including the extrajudicial rendition or torture of any person in Hong Kong. The bill bars such individuals from entering the United States and imposes sanctions on them.