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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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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.