Jul 2, 2020 - World

Congress unanimously approves China sanctions over Hong Kong security law

Pro-democracy protesters during a demonstration on July 1, 2020.

Pro-democracy protesters during a demonstration on July 1, 2020. Photo: Tommy Walker/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Senate approved a bill via unanimous consent on Thursday that authorizes sanctions on Chinese officials involved in implementing Hong Kong's draconian new national security law, in addition to banks and firms that do business with them.

Why it matters: The bill, which passed the House unanimously on Wednesday, is part of the United States' bipartisan rebuke of China's passage of the security law, which encroaches on Hong Kong's independent legal system by setting harsh punishments for broadly defined crimes associated with protests.

  • The bill targets Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for imposing the law and Hong Kong police units that have curtailed pro-democracy protests in the special administrative region, AP reports.

The big picture: In response to the sanctions, China has said it will impose visa restrictions on Americans who it believes are interfering with Hong Kong affairs.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denounced threats of a visa ban, calling them a sign of “how Beijing refuses to take responsibility for its own choices."
  • He said that adoption of the security law “destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements," according to AP.

What's next: The bill now heads to President Trump's desk. His administration is attempting to salvage the "phase one" trade deal it reached with Beijing in January.

  • Trump said the trade deal is still "fully intact" in June, while White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said it was effectively dead on the same day, the New York Times reports.

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