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US Senate bill calls for ending sale of crowd-control munitions to Hong Kong

Author: Robert Delaney and Owen Churchill, South China Morning Post, Published on: 25 October 2019

US senators announced legislation… calling for a ban on sales of crowd-control munitions to Hong Kong law enforcement services…

Introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, the bill would prohibit US companies from exporting so-called non-lethal crowd-control items – including tear gas, pepper spray, batons and rubber bullets – to Hong Kong, where local police have been battling protesters pushing the city’s government to implement electoral reforms.

The act mirrors bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives, called the PROTECT Hong Kong Act, which passed on a voice vote.

The Senate bill already has the bipartisan backing of a dozen other senators, including Republicans Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Rick Scott of Florida and New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand…

An investigation by Amnesty International USA in July found that Hong Kong police were sourcing much of their munitions from American manufacturers. Citing incidents in which the police have allegedly flaunted the usage guidelines for such equipment, activists in the city have called on the US government to implement an export ban for months, while lawmakers have appealed directly to members of the Trump administration to review export controls.

 “It is unacceptable that US equipment is being used by Hong Kong police in the violent suppression of free speech,” Blackburn said in a statement issued jointly by the bill’s backers…

The bill would require the administration to prohibit the issuance of export licenses for munition sales to Hong Kong within 30 days of the legislation’s passage…

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