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Photo: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

The House voted 413-1 on Wednesday in favor of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, a Senate bill that would sanction Chinese officials responsible for detaining up to 2 million members of the ethnic minority in forced labor camps in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: The passage of the bill will further exacerbate tensions between the U.S. and China, which are already running extremely high as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing's aggressive actions toward Hong Kong.

  • The bill requires President Trump to submit reports to Congress identifying Chinese officials and others who've played a role in human rights abuses toward the Uighur population.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the bill, which has widespread bipartisan support. It will now go to the president's desk for a signature, though Trump has not yet indicated whether he will enact it into law.
  • Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole "no" vote.

Worth noting: This is the first time in House history that a bill has been passed via proxy voting, which was introduced as part of the 45-day "remote proceedings" period that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has designated during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 70 Democrats voted via proxy.

Between the lines, via Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: The U.S. government has been slow to levy sanctions on the Chinese government, which is still actively perpetrating the worst ethno-religious mass internment since World War II.

  • The difficulty of punishing Beijing, even for such extreme abuses, indicates how powerful the country has become.

The big picture: Earlier on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

  • The revocation of Hong Kong's special status could lead to sanctions against China.
  • The Trump administration has also signaled it will seek some sort of punishment against China for its role in covering up the initial coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeper ... Exclusive: Documents show China's secret extradition request for Uighur in Turkey

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2020 - World

Xinjiang residents reportedly forced to take medicine amid coronavirus fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Rumors have swirled for months that local authorities pressed residents of Xinjiang, a far northwestern region in China, to take traditional Chinese medicine during the coronavirus pandemic. Now a new report from the Associated Press based on interviews, public notices and social media posts suggests this may be true.

Why it matters: Forcing an entire population to take medicine that has not been clinically proven to be effective against the coronavirus could be a breach of medical ethics.

6 mins ago - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," Axios co-founder Mike Allen interviews White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond.

  • Catch the full interview and much more on Sunday, February 28 at 6 pm. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.
1 hour ago - World

Italy tightens COVID restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants

Health workers prepare vaccine doses in Iseo, Italy. Photo: Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Italy on Saturday announced it was tightening restrictions in five of the country's 20 regions in an effort curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Driving the news: The announcement comes as health experts and scientists warn of the more transmissible coronavirus variants, per Reuters.