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Thousands of people hold an unsanctioned march through the streets of Hong Kong. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images

The Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday to reaffirm American support for the city's autonomy.

The big picture: The bill asserts the U.S.' commitment to "democracy, human rights, and the rule of law" as it relates to Hong Kong's autonomy, according to bill sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio's description. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong.

Between the lines: The passage sends a clear message to China, with whom the U.S. has been caught up in a trade war since 2017. Tuesday's bill would require annual reviews of Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law, during which officials would assess how much China has breached the city's governance.

  • "The United States has treated commerce and trade with Hong Kong differently than it has commercial and trade activity with the mainland of China," Rubio said on the Senate floor.
  • "But what’s happened over the last few years is the steady effort on the part of Chinese authorities to erode that autonomy and those freedoms," he added.

What to watch: The bill may now head to the House for consideration. However, the House has passed its own version of the measure that they could try to reconcile with the Senate. Only slight differences exist between the two.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.