Foreign Policy for America Statement on protests in hong kong

Washington, DC – Like so many millions around the world, we are alarmed by the possibility that the Chinese government could launch a violent crackdown against the people of Hong Kong who have taken to the streets to call for freedom and democratic reform. All those who favor democracy and affirm the dignity of people living around the world, should reject Chinese rhetoric equating peaceful protest with “terror atrocities.”

This week in comments on Twitter and to reporters, President Trump failed the test of leadership by issuing only weak statements of concern rather than mobilizing democratic allies to take action. By stating “We’ll see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out,” Trump is sending exactly the wrong message to Beijing: that the U.S. under his leadership has abandoned its historic support for individual rights and freedoms and might sit idly by in the case of a violent crackdown on protesters. 

There are not two sides in this debate. As the beneficiaries of a historic democracy, Americans stand firmly on the side of those striving for greater democracy and freedom. Trump’s pathetic statement – apparently an attempt to appease China is yet another disgraceful example of his bizarre affection for dictators. 

While Trump has failed to defend basic human rights, we commend congressional leaders like Senators Chris Murphy and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have warned China of the grave consequences that could follow if it resorts to violence to quell the protests. 

“We unequivocally support the people of Hong Kong and their rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the quest for democracy,” said Foreign Policy for America’s Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “The President of the United States should always stand firmly in support of democracy and human dignity and against the violence and repression of authoritarians. If Trump continues to fail that test, and the worst happens in Hong Kong, the consequences could reverberate for generations.” 

"Pictures of Hong Kong democracy activists waving American flags are a reminder of how, at our best, American values and aspirations echo universal ones. In failing to stand up for those universal values, the Trump administration is abandoning a key source of American power -- and international hope," said Heather Hurlburt, Director of the New Models of Policy Change project at New America's Political Reform program and Foreign Policy for America Advisor.