Representative Chris Smtih (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), respectively chairman and co-chairman of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC). (Photo: file)

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Washington — The US Congress members and the Chairman and Co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission (CECC) condemned violent attacks by pro-China Chinese on Tibetans and others protesting against Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States for the APEC Summit. "We, the Chairs of the CECC, strongly condemn the reported violence perpetrated against individuals exercising their rights of freedom of expression and assembly in the United States. We urge San Francisco County police to review these reports and pursue justice as appropriate,” they wrote.

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), respectively Chairman and Co-Chairman of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission (CECC), issued a statement on November 28, 2023, condemning the violent attacks on Human rights advocates, including Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, and Tibetans, by pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) counter-protestors at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit in San Francisco in mid-November 2023.

The statement stated, "We are outraged by videos showing harassment and assault against human rights advocates who gathered in San Francisco last week to protest CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States and ongoing human rights abuses by the People’s Republic of China. The constitutionally-protected right to peacefully protest must be respected, and law enforcement must step in where peaceful protestors are met with violence."

"The intimidation began before Xi arrived, with prominent human rights advocates such as Anna Kwok of the Hong Kong Democracy Council receiving horrendous threats on social media after announcing her plans to participate in anti-CCP protests," the statement added.

The Chairs said, "Crowds of Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and other advocacy groups gathered in San Francisco to peacefully demonstrate against Xi’s participation at the APEC summit due to China’s horrendous human rights record. Many reported being attacked by pro-CCP counter-protestors. A group of Tibetan youth activists claimed they were assaulted and had their banners stolen by pro-CCP demonstrators wearing masks, while Tibetan advocate Chemi Lhamo said she was surrounded and harassed for nearly 15 minutes and subjected to hair pulling, physical assault, and the stealing of her cell phone, which was tossed into nearby water, presumably because it contained evidence identifying her assailants."

"We, the Chairs of the CECC, strongly condemn the reported violence perpetrated against individuals exercising their rights of freedom of expression and assembly in the United States. We urge San Francisco County police to review these reports and pursue justice as appropriate," Representative Chris Smith and Senator Jeff Merkley said.