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Humanitarian Pathways

Humanitarian Pathways


Advocacy for humanitarian pathways to the United States for Hong Kong people of every background has been a focus both of the Hong Kong Democracy Council and our allies in Congress since the passage of the National Security Law. The Hong Kong Victims of Communism Support Act sponsored by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) widened the range of accepted debate on humanitarian pathways for Hong Kong people even though it did not become law. Since then, several major bills have attempted to address the issue: the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, and the Hong Kong Refugee Protection Act.

What we have done

The Hong Kong Democracy Council has supported the majority of these bills – we have adapted our strategy over time to take into account the difficulty, sensitivity and trust needed to open these pathways. Members of the Hong Kong Democracy Council met with dozens of Congressional offices to advocate for legislation in favor of humanitarian pathways. The Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, which received consistent support in both the House and Senate, was the main focus of our efforts. The legislation contains language that is more humanitarian in tone than the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, as it focuses on victims of political persecution. Neither the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act nor the COMPETES Act, which also included humanitarian pathway provisions on Hong Kong, has passed Congress.

What we are doing

Today, the Hong Kong Democracy Council is changing its strategy and pursuing advocacy for a stand-alone bill on humanitarian pathways and we believe this can happen next Congress. The process will involve rallying the support of Congresspeople who have supported Hong Kong before, and putting together a single bill that can survive the committee mark-up process, which means it must be targeted and precise. We believe this legislation can send a message that China’s loss is our gain when it comes to both high-skilled labor and those facing political persecution. The Hong Kong Democracy Council advocates for a new vision on how humanitarian pathways can compliment US national strategy in the Indo-Pacific and our community as a whole.


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