Updated Apr 20, 2021 - World

House votes to condemn China's government for Hong Kong rights violations

Cherry blossoms at the U.S. Capitol in Washington are lit by the rising sun on Friday, March 20, 2020.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House passed a resolution on Monday to condemn China's government and Hong Kong's regional legislature for "the continued violation of rights and freedoms" in a near-unanimous vote.

Driving the news: The resolution calling on the governments to free Hong Kong's pro-democracy leaders, imprisoned under China's national security law, passed 418-1. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the only Congress member to vote against the measure.

  • Media tycoon Jimmy Lai, 73, an open critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, was among a group of activists sentenced last Friday under the law, which was imposed on Hong Kong last year.

What they're saying: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said the passing of the resolution sent "a strong bipartisan message demanding that the Chinese and Hong Kong governments respect the will" of Hong Kongers, per The Hill.

  • "We will continue to push for democracy and respect for human rights in Hong Kong," he added.
"We will continue to demonstrate that we stand in solidarity with the pro-democracy figures and activists who have made tremendous sacrifices for their city and for their core human rights."
ā€” Meeks

The big picture: Former President Trump signed a bill last July sanctioning Chinese officials in response to Beijing's security law for Hong Kong.

  • The Biden administration has since stepped up sanctions for further curtailing of democracy in the Asian financial hub.

The other side: China did not immediately respond to the House vote, but President Xi Jinping made a series of thinly veiled swipes at the U.S. on Tuesday, warning against "bossing others around or meddling in others' internal affairs."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include Xi's comments.

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