Open Letter to Senator Mitch McConnell on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

Open Letter to Senator Mitch McConnell on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

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Amy Chan
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The Honorable Mitch McConnell
US Senate Majority Leader
US Capitol Building
Washington DC
The United States

Dear Leader McConnell, 

As supporters of human rights and democracy, with deep concern for the dire humanitarian situation in Hong Kong, the Citizens’ Press Conference strongly urge for the passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (S.1838) in the Senate. The Citizens' Press Conference is a platform on which ordinary citizens and protesters express their opinions safely under the white terror that currently shrouds Hong Kong. We work to recover and amplify these lost voices from the mainstream narrative dominated by the authorities and pro-Beijing media, as well as to retrieve and broadcast the truth of the on-the-ground situation to counteract the Hong Kong and Beijing Governments' falsified discourse. Our friends at 'Freedom Hong Kong', as a team, also work diligently on the international front in promoting awareness on Hong Kong's current dire straits across the globe.

Jointly, we are writing to urgently request that you schedule a vote in the Senate for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act immediately.

The Hong Kong Police’s brutality against us is escalating sharply. We are losing our eyes, ears, limbs, and for some of us, lives. The crackdowns we saw during the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd on peaceful and lawful rallies are indicative of a change of tactic by the authorities to restrict our rights to demonstrate peacefully, as well as our electoral rights as the attacks by the police were also directed at our pro-democracy district council election candidates. In the morning of November 4th, a university student fell to his demise from the 3rd floor of a car park at a private housing estate onto the 2nd floor whilst trying to get away from the tear gas, which the police fired into the building in a frenzy; he was wearing only plain clothing at the time of his injury with no protective gear at hand. He was only 22.

Many more cases of human right abuse by the police have occurred throughout the past months: cases of rape of detainees by the police have been confirmed and identified; unwarranted arbitrary arrests have been made of ordinary civilians at private properties; the police are aiming their projectile and chemical warfare at head level at civilians and journalists; the police have also blatantly declared to young civilians under arrest that they would appreciate throwing them into a detention center and rape them for fun, and beating them to death and discard their bodies into the waters.

On top of the bodily abuse, Hong Kongers are also subject to extreme psychological distress on a daily basis from witnessing scenes of traumatizing events, either through social media livestreams, or when they personally take part in protests. According to our own research on the mental health of participants in the Movement, for which we have received over 43,000 responses, 36.7% of our respondents showed significant PTSD symptoms that warrant further clinical assessment. When we focus our analysis on the frontliners, who regularly confront the police and sustain a much higher exposure to police brutality, 55.1% of this group showed significant PTSD symptoms. It is worth noting that the normal prevalence rate of PTSD among Syrian refugees is just above 30%.

Hong Kongers have been cornered in our rights to speak and demonstrate – we now need to risk our lives to attend even peaceful and lawful assemblies. This is all part of the authorities’ plan to upscale their crackdown and indiscriminate arrest operations, with the brutality calibrated not to evoke international attention. Even more ominously, the PRC Government proclaims that it will roll out “national security” steps, which is a code word for large-scale suppression in Hong Kong:

We are grateful to the 37 US Senators who are cosponsors of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. We are grateful to the US House of Representatives for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act by “unanimous consent” on October 15th, 2019. We are grateful to your eloquently expressed support for the people of Hong Kong.

Please translate your words into immediate action by scheduling a vote for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in the Senate, before more of us lose even more body parts, and our lives.

With highest urgency,

Co-signed by

The Citizens' Press Conference
Freedom Hong Kong