US approves new sanctions bill to punish China over new Hong Kong security law
The United States Senate has approved a final version of legislation that would punish China for imposing a new security law on Hong Kong, a move by China that aims to destroy democratic freedoms and government accountability in Hong Kong.
The legislation termed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act would impose sanctions on businesses and individuals that help China restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The Senate initially passed the bill last week, according to Sen. Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, who authored the legislation, but on Thursday July 1, it was approved by unanimous consent and it will now go to President Donald Trump’s desk for signing.
The move by US lawmakers comes as China has passed a controversial national security law for Hong Kong that grants China almost total control over the affairs of semi-autonomous city Hong Kong, going against the deal signed between Britain and China in 1997 when Hong Kong was handed over to China under the One country Two systems principle.
The West believes the new law ends the city’s precious civil and political freedoms but China claims the law was created to uphold the sovereignty of the Chinese mainland.
The US believes the new law could be used to target political dissidents, activists, human rights lawyers and journalists who speak up against the government.