Dear Mr. President:
We write as an informal group of organizations and individuals who are religious and secular leaders, scholars, human rights attorneys, advocates, and activists to express our deepest concerns about the urgent crisis in Hong Kong, which represents a clear and present danger to religious freedom and all other fundamental rights and freedoms.
You have rightly said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is “absolutely smothering” freedom in Hong Kong and that such behavior will not go unpunished. We have nonetheless reached the day the communist regime actualizes this unacceptable crackdown with its formal adoption of a national security law that violates China’s international treaty commitments and that will render this once-free territory just another enslaved Chinese city suffering savage oppression. We must not allow this to happen without imposing real and material costs on the CCP.
Fortunately, the Defense Department has just illuminated a way in which this can be swiftly accomplished—one that both conforms to longstanding U.S. statutory requirements and unmistakably demonstrates our resolve. As you know, on June 24, the Pentagon produced a list of twenty “Communist Chinese military companies” that are doing business, directly or indirectly, in this country. Pursuant to P.L. 105-261, Sec. 1237, you are expressly authorized to utilize the powers invested in the President by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to penalize such People’s Liberation Army-tied corporations. By swiftly shutting down their operations inside the United States and terminating their access to our capital markets, you can simultaneously advance our national security interests and deliver a strong response to the CCP suppression of Hong Kong.
We are a truly multi-faith group of organizations and individuals, representing an extremely broad diversity of theological views and political positions. But we all agree on the importance of religious freedom for all persons and communities. It strengthens cultures and provides the foundation for stable democracies and their components, including civil society, social harmony, safety and security, and economic development and prosperity. This is a major contributor to the national security of the United States.
We urge you to take this action immediately as a much needed and very tangible demonstration of our nation’s solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and those elsewhere in China who are already being denied religious and other freedoms.
We thank you for your commitment to advancing international religious freedom and for your thoughtful consideration of this emergency multi-faith request to send a message to the CCP and the world that we will exact a high price for crushing freedom.