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Bipartisan assist is being voiced on Capitol Hill, uniting towards China’s new legislation in Hong Kong. (July 1)

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WASHINGTON — The Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday that seeks to slap stiff penalties on China for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, as Chinese language officers crack down on pro-democracy activists within the metropolis.

The invoice – which handed the House on Wednesday and can now go to President Donald Trump – would impose necessary sanctions on Chinese language officers and entities that assist implement Beijing’s so-called “national security law,” which criminalizes subversion and different types of dissent and permits Hong Kong residents to be extradited to China for trial.

The laws would additionally sanction banks and different firms that conduct “important transactions” with these Chinese language officers and entities engaged in a crackdown on Hong Kong, a world monetary hub. 

“We’re going to carry the Beijing Communist Get together management and their accomplices accountable for the erosion of those freedoms,” mentioned Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican who co-sponsored the invoice with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat. 

Extra: Hong Kong police make first arrests under new security law

Van Hollen mentioned a Chinese language police unit – working in Hong Kong and concerned in cracking down in protesters – may very well be amongst these focused by the brand new measure. 

“There will likely be a worth to pay for snuffing out folks’s rights,” he advised reporters throughout a convention name with Toomey after the invoice cleared the Senate.

Chinese language officers blasted the risk of U.S. sanctions and accused Washington of meddling in its inside affairs. 

“The unprecedented excessive profile of Washington in Hong Kong affairs is boastful,” states an editorial revealed Wednesday in World Occasions, a state-controlled Chinese language outlet. “It’s so formidable that it desires to show Hong Kong into leverage to include China’s rise.” 

China started imposing its nationwide safety legislation on Tuesday, dismissing worldwide stress to protect Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous standing and its separate authorized, political and financial framework, in place since 1997. That coverage had enshrined freedoms of speech, press, meeting and an impartial judiciary for residents of Hong Kong.

Chinese language officers have defended the brand new legislation as essential to protect nationwide safety and shield Hong Kong’s prosperity, however critics say it’s aimed toward snuffing out pro-democracy protests which have roiled Hong Kong for months. 

Extra: China approves contentious Hong Kong national security law

The White Home has not mentioned if Trump will signal the invoice. However because it handed with unanimous assist, he will likely be underneath appreciable stress to take action.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned China’s actions on Wednesday, throughout a briefing with reporters.

“America is deeply involved in regards to the legislation’s sweeping provisions and the security of everybody residing within the territory, together with Individuals,” Pompeo mentioned.

“I’ve little doubt that the president will signal it,” Toomey mentioned.

Van Hollen expressed some issues about how aggressively the Trump administration will implement the measure, which features a waiver if the White Home identifies nationwide safety issues related to implementing the sanctions.  

Below the measure, the State and Treasury departments could have 90 days to determine Chinese language entities and people who’re “materially” engaged in eroding Hong Kong’s freedoms. However the president has as much as one yr to impose the mandated sanctions.

In Could, Trump mentioned his administration would start to revoke Hong Kong’s particular buying and selling standing,as a result of it’s not autonomous from mainland China. The State Division has imposed visa restrictions on Chinese language officers it deemed chargeable for the Hong Kong crackdown and banned sure U.S. exports, together with protection tools and dual-use expertise, to the territory. 

The Hong Kong Police Drive introduced Wednesday at the very least 370 protesters had been arrested in violation of the brand new “nationwide safety” legislation, which, amongst different issues, makes waving pro-independence flags unlawful. 

Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., known as the legislation a “punch within the mouth” to Hong Kong throughout a Wednesday speech on the Senate ground. The legislation “tramples all around the freedoms and autonomy which have set Hong Kong aside,” he mentioned. 

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