US Senate passes bill to impose sanctions on China over Hong Kong security law

The US House of Representatives has approved a bill by unanimous consent that would impose sanctions on China after Beijing imposed a security law that was condemned by countries around the world.
One of the bills, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, would slap sanctions on individuals and businesses that help China restrict the autonomy of Hong Kong.
The bill would have to be approved by the Senate before going to President Donald Trump for his signature.
“What the government of China is doing in Hong Kong is unacceptable. They are taking away the rights of people in Hong Kong. They are snuffing out freedoms that exist there right now,” Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland was quoted as saying.
A second measure from Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is a resolution condemning China for violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 to guarantee autonomy for Hong Kong.
The new security law being adopted by China would “deal a mighty blow to the freedoms and liberties that Hong Kongers have enjoyed for decades now. It is a permanent break from the one country, two systems principle that has governed that city since 1997,” said Hawley.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, making a special appearance at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday (July 1) said the new law “signals the death of the one country, two systems” model followed by China with respect to Hong Kong.
“The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised,” Pelosi said.
Last month, Trump had said that his administration will revise the State Department’s travel advisory for Hong Kong to reflect “increased danger of punishment by the Chinese state security apparatus”.
Under China’s draconian national security law, which was brought into effect on late Tuesday night, a police unit will be established to oversee the implementation of the legislation, along with secret policing in the former British colony.
The security law has been criticized by the international community despite both China and Hong Kong’s leadership asserting that they have the full right to implement the legislation.
The UK said it would offer up to three million Hong Kong residents the chance to settle there and ultimately apply for full British citizenship.
Australia is also “actively considering” offering safe haven to Hong Kong residents – with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying there were proposals that will “soon be considered by cabinet”.
Meanwhile a senior Taiwanese official said its citizens should now avoid unnecessary transits through or visits to Hong Kong.
Japan was among the other countries that spoke out against the law, calling it “regrettable”. “It will undermine trust for the principle of ‘one country, two systems’,” said Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.