• Press Release

U.S. Signing of the PROTECT Hong Kong Act Sends a Message to the World That People Can Come Before Profit

November 27, 2019

Students gather at a shopping mall in the Lok Fu area of Hong Kong on September 23, 2019, to sing a recently penned protest song titled 'Glory to Hong Kong' which has been gaining popularity in the city. - A defiant protest anthem penned by an anonymous composer has become the unofficial new soundtrack to Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests, belted out by crowds at flashmobs in malls, on the streets and in the football stands. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Responding to the official signing of S.2710, the PROTECT Hong Kong Act, Amnesty International USA and Amnesty International Hong King issued the following joint statement:

Francisco Bencosme, the Asia Pacific advocacy manager at Amnesty International USA said:

“This bill will help ensure that the U.S. halts its moral complicity in the violence and abuses committed by the Hong Kong police using U.S. crowd control equipment. It sends a message to the world that people come before profit. Basic human rights must come before short term greed and governments should not make money off of human rights violations as people in Hong Kong continue to suffer and to fight for their rights and their freedom.”

Man-Kei Tam, director at Amnesty International Hong Kong said:

Hong Kong police have handled protests unlawfully, violating fundamental international human rights standards. Governments should follow suit by the U.S. on this issue and stop selling arms and other weapons to the Hong Kong police.”

Amnesty International USA and Amnesty International Hong Kong are calling on the HongKong government to respect people’s right to peaceful assembly and set up an independent commission of inquiry into police excessive use of force in the protests taking place since June. Amnesty International has been leading a global campaign to prohibit the sale of crowd control equipment until the Hong Kong police force uses force in accordance with international standards.

Background and context:

S.2170, the PROTECT Hong Kong Act would prohibit the issuance of licenses to export covered munition items such as tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and other items to the Hong Kong Police Force. It passed the House of Representatives on November 20, 2019 and was introduced by Representatives McGovern, Representatives Smith, Senator Merkley and Senator Blackburn as well as other co-sponsors.

On June 25, the UK announced that it would stop issuing licenses for crowd control equipment to Hong Kong until “concerns raised on human rights and fundamental freedoms have been thoroughly addressed.” On July 18, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Hong Kong calling for, among other measures: “the EU, its Member States and the international community to work towards the imposition of appropriate export control mechanisms to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies used to violate basic rights”.

Read more:

Death of student fleeing tear gas in Hong Kong must be investigated (press release, November 8, 2019)

Shooting of protestor in Hong Kong must be investigated amid alarming escalation of police use of force ( press release, November 1, 2019)