Although Hong Kong was granted a high degree of autonomy in 1984 under the “one country, two systems” framework agreed on between Britain and the Chinese communist regime, this autonomy deteriorated and human rights violations increased.
The U.S. State Department reported police brutality, unjustified arrests, censorship of free speech, and a limitation of political participation in Hong Kong, and the island’s government warned of what it called “foreign interference,” according to the Hong Kong Free Press.
“The 2019 Human Rights Report honors those I’ve named and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for freedom and for human dignity,” State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo said as he presented the report to the public on March 11.
For 44 years, the State Department has produced a report on human rights around the world, and the 2019 report highlights violations in China, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba, primarily.
“We’re blessed that the unalienable rights are secure here at home. But we all know the rights of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness don’t just belong to Americans, they belong to everyone everywhere,” Pompeo reiterated.
Millions of Hong Kong residents began protesting in June over the announcement of a controversial bill allowing the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. The bill was scrapped.
During the Civil Front for Human Rights march, which was banned by the police, protesters and pro-democracy officials were met with widespread police violence.
The Hong Kong police have been accused of sexual assault and beatings and ill treatment including breaking the bones of detainees.
Several people have died amid the demonstrations, and there were reports of an increase in suicides, apparently as a result of the demonstrations.
The United Nations Human Rights Office stated that there was “credible evidence” that Hong Kong police were “using less-lethal weapons in ways prohibited by international norms and standards.”
The Chinese regime has had a long list of human rights violations heaped on it.
The Congressional-Executive Committee on China (CECC) also published its annual report for 2019 on Jan. 8, highlighting the worsening human rights conditions in China.
The report detailed the Chinese regime’s repression of religious groups, including Christians, Falun Gong practitioners, minorities and labor activists, its expansion of digital surveillance and censorship, and its political lobbying activities around the world, according to The Washington Post.