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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2020 - World

U.K. and Canada sanction Belarus dictator over rigged election

Lukashenko. Photo: Siarhei Leskiec/AFP via Getty Images

The U.K. and Canada on Tuesday announced they would impose sanctions on Belarus dictator Aleksander Lukashenko and members of his government for violence against protesters in the wake of August's rigged election.

Why it matters: The sanctions against the Belarus strongman represent the first major penalties enacted by Western powers since a post-election crackdown in which Lukashenko's security forces have brutalized protesters and detained major opposition figures.

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.