‘The U.S. stands solidly behind Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese repression’ | Opinion

‘The U.S. stands solidly behind Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese repression’ | Opinion‘The U.S. stands solidly behind Hong Kong protesters seeking freedom from Chinese repression’ | Opinion

The greatest threat we face in the next century is from China. China’s growing influence around the world presents a clear and present danger to the stability of world markets, the security of the United States and our allies and the quest for freedom and democracy around the globe. I just returned from Hong Kong, where I met with pro-democracy, business and religious leaders who are fighting for their freedom and human dignity. They are standing strong against Beijing’s aggression. I was the first U.S. senator to visit Hong Kong since the protests started 17 weeks ago. I met with protesters — students, parents and grandparents — who are fighting to regain the freedom they were once promised. I heard their stories — horrible and frightening stories of police brutality, threats against individuals and their families and mysterious disappearances. I heard how injured protesters can’t go to the hospital for fear of retaliation. But in all the horrific tales, there are brave and heroic souls fighting for freedom. All of this is happening because President Xi is a human-rights violator. He is yet another Communist leader trying to be the dominant world power. It’s Hong Kong now, then it will be Taiwan and soon America itself. China believes that in order for them to be stronger, America and other freedom-loving countries must be weaker. To the Communist regime in Beijing, this is a zero-sum game. China does not believe it can prosper unless America fails. China is not our friend. It is stealing our technology and refuses to open its markets to foreign goods as required by its agreement to be part of the World Trade Organization. This kills American jobs. China is militarizing the South China Sea, even after promising President Obama it wouldn’t, and it is intentionally pushing fentanyl into the United States, killing Americans every day. China is supporting Nicolas Maduro’s genocide in Venezuela. It is spending billions of dollars to prop up Iran’s economy. Everywhere I travel around the world, I see China’s tentacles stretch further and wider. In Hong Kong, I also met with its Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is nothing more than a puppet for Beijing and President Xi. She wouldn’t even answer basic questions about the rights of her people and the path forward for Hong Kong. This is all typical of China, and we’ve been turning a blind eye to it for decades. But we cannot let it continue down this path. China has made clear that it does not respect human rights, and its plan to deny Hong Kong and Taiwan freedom and self-determination has global implications. Thankfully, the Trump administration is taking a stand against China by levying tariffs, and it’s about time. But this is bigger than trade. This is about our freedom. China’s plan for world domination should influence the full spectrum of policy decisions we, as the United States, and freedom-loving countries around the world make. President Xi needs to comply with what China agreed to in 1997 and give Hong Kong its autonomy. I’ve called on the State Department to do more to warn Americans about the threat they face when traveling to China. Recently, I filed a bill that would require the U.S. government to end Peace Corps programs in China. Why are U.S. taxpayers funding programs in China, the world’s second-largest economy that is clearly an enemy to the United States? It makes no sense. I also filed a bill that would prohibit the federal government from purchasing drones ...
More on: www.miamiherald.com