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The United States is offering a temporary “safe haven” for Hong Kong residents in light of the actions taking place against the people of Hong Kong by the communist Chinese government.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, President Joe Biden signed an order on Thursday that will allow some Hong Kong residents to stay in the United States instead of going back to Hong Kong for 18 months.
In a memorandum, Biden said that the U.S. “supports the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the residents of Hong Kong. Recognizing the significant erosion of those rights and freedoms in Hong Kong by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), I am directing the deferral of removal of certain Hong Kong residents who are present in the United States.”
“Offering safe haven for Hong Kong residents who have been deprived of their guaranteed freedoms in Hong Kong furthers United States interests in the region. The United States will not waver in our support of people in Hong Kong,” it said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “This action demonstrates President Biden’s strong support for people in Hong Kong in the face of ongoing repression by the People’s Republic of China, and makes clear we will not stand idly by as the PRC breaks its promises to Hong Kong and to the international community.”
The Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is not a specific immigration status, but it allows a president to designate certain people as under the action who are typically from a specific country. Under the DED, these people are not subject to expulsion from the U.S., typically for a certain period of time.
As Fox News reported, “Previous examples of DED use include former President Donald Trump deferring removal for Venezuelans in January and then-President George W. Bush’s deferring the removal of Liberians in 2007, which is still in effect.”
The Chinese government has been infringing on free speech and human rights in Hong Kong, specifically under the use of its new “national security law” that was passed last year. Last month, as The Daily Wire reported, Tong Ying-kit, a 24-year-old man, was sentenced to nine years in prison in the first ruling under the new law.
During protests last year, he drove a motorcycle into a group of police officers while he was holding a flag with the message, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times.”
“This overall term should sufficiently reflect the defendant’s culpability in the two offenses and the abhorrence of society, at the same time, achieving the deterrent effect required,” a group of three judges wrote in the ruling, according to The Wall Street Journal.
There was no jury for the trial and the judges were chosen by Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, due to the controversial security law.
In another event, police in Hong Kong arrested several people last month over the production of specific children’s books, according to reports from the area. The books were reportedly meant to provide a lesson to children on the city’s history of democracy.
Steve Li, a senior superintendent of the national security department, told a press conference Thursday that the people who were arrested were part of a speech therapists’ union that produced children’s books that included wolves and sheep.
“Li said the content of the books were ‘stirring up hatred’ towards the government and ‘inciting violence,’” per NBC News.
“They are using children’s cartoons to simplify and beautify illegal behavior on political issues,” he said. “For example, the evil acts of thugs during the 2019 protests and painting the 12 Hong Kong fugitives as heroes. They are poisoning our children.”