Sen. Rick Scott, back from a fact finding mission in Hong Kong, is exchanging sharp words with its Chief Executive Carrie Lam upon his return.
On Thursday, with the eyes of Florida Republicans on the President Donald Trump rally/policy announcement in the Villages, Scott’s gaze was half a world away.
“On my trip to Hong Kong, I met with Chief Executive Lam and establishment leaders, who are nothing more than puppets for Beijing and President Xi,” Scott asserted in a media release.
“Chief Executive Lam wouldn’t even answer basic questions about the rights of her people,” Scott maintained.
“She claims to value freedom, democracy, and Hong Kong’s partnership with the United States, but her inaction demonstrates how little she values the rights of the people of Hong Kong – even denying her citizens the right to protest peacefully,” the Senator added.
At issue: a letter from Lam, which Scott said was full of “empty words.”
Lam worried of “adverse effects” from the so-called “Hong Kong bill,” which urges a second look from American policymakers as to whether or not the city is truly “autonomous” anymore.
For Scott, the worries are more existential.
“As Chief Executive Lam wrote this letter to me, a Hong Kong teenager was shot in the chest while protesting for freedom,” Scott asserted. “Now, her government is considering banning people from wearing masks that are used to protect themselves from tear gas or hide their identities.”
Scott called Lam “just another pawn in Communist dictator Xi’s game of global domination.”
“It is disappointing that Hong Kong does not have a strong leader standing for them, but the United States is committed to this fight and won’t back down,” Scott closed.
The Senator has been aggressive in trying to spotlight Chinese actions, clearly frustrated that American policy doesn’t reflect his deep concern.
For example, Scott thinks China is a no-go zone and wonders why the State Department doesn’t share his alarm.
The Senator gave a speech last week to the Concordia Institute where he spotlighted perils from China.
“I won’t stop fighting until America’s economic and political future is secure from the threat of Chinese influence,” Scott vowed.
The Senator has not gone too many days since going to Washington without calling attention to a Chinese infringement on traditional American prerogatives, as part of a larger foreign policy vision that calls for aggressive stances against U.S. adversaries.
In that vein, it is not surprising that he continues to call attention to what he sees as a human rights catastrophe in Hong Kong, one half a world away, but with significant implications for the Sino-American relationship.