Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner issued stern warnings to China on Tuesday and Wednesday against military intervention in Hong Kong.
The senators’ notices come amid threats from China to send military personnel into Hong Kong in retaliation for the violent protests there that have been ongoing since Sunday. Troops have already been sent to the Shenzhen border.
Gardner, the Republican chair of the Senate’s East Asia subcommittee, said the Trump administration “must make clear to Beijing that any crackdown in Hong Kong will have profound consequences for China, including imposition of U.S. sanctions” on Twitter.
“The voice of the people of Hong Kong must be heard without fear of repression and retaliation. The Hong Kong government must fully guarantee the democratic rights of Hong Kongers, while Beijing must fully respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. The world is watching,” he continued.
Cardin issued a similar warning to China in an interview with Reuters published Wednesday
“I can assure you that if China comes down hard on the protesters that there will be action in Congress to enforce the autonomy agreements that were entered into that are part of the special recognition of Hong Kong,” Cardin said.
“If China interferes with the autonomy of Hong Kong, then it does affect our agreements in regard to Hong Kong as far as the trade zone is concerned,” he continued.
Hong Kong demonstrators were protesting a disputed extradition bill on Sunday, which turned violent with reports of police brutality. Protesters then took to Hong Kong International airport for a sit-in against police brutality on Monday and Tuesday, forcing the airport to cancel hundreds of flights on both days.