US Congress backs sanctions over China’s Hong Kong safety legislation | China Information

The US Congress has accepted a invoice penalising banks doing enterprise with Chinese language officers behind a troublesome new safety legislation Beijing enacted in Hong Kong this week.

The invoice handed the Senate by unanimous consent on Thursday, a day after the Home of Representatives additionally handed it with out opposition, a uncommon instance of overwhelming bipartisan help reflecting concern in Washington over the erosion of autonomy within the former British colony.

“That is an pressing second. Our timing couldn’t be extra important,” mentioned Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a lead sponsor of the “Hong Kong Autonomy Act,” in a Senate speech urging help for the laws.

“By way of this invoice, the US Senate makes clear which aspect we’re on” mentioned Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who additionally launched the measure.

The invoice would impose sanctions on entities that assist violate Hong Kong’s autonomy and monetary establishments that do enterprise with them.

Forward of the Senate vote, a spokesman for the Chinese language overseas ministry criticised the invoice, saying: “No overseas nation has the best to intrude.”

Zhao Lijian mentioned Washington’s transfer to impede the implementation of the brand new legislation “are doomed to failure”, saying China will “positively take sturdy countermeasures and all penalties will probably be borne by the US aspect”.

China has already introduced visa restrictions in opposition to the US “people who’ve behaved egregiously” on issues regarding Hong Kong.

The USA has additionally ended Hong Kong’s particular standing below US legislation, halting defence exports and limiting the territory’s entry to high-technology merchandise. The US Division of State in the meantime mentioned it’ll bar officers liable for rights abuses in Hong Kong from coming into the nation.





Warning to UK

Individually on Thursday, China slammed the UK’s choice to supply a path to citizenship for Hong Kong’s residents, threatening potential “corresponding measures” and warning in opposition to interference within the semi-autonomous Chinese language territory.

In a press release , the Chinese language embassy in London pressured all “Chinese language compatriots residing in Hong Kong are Chinese language nationals”, and mentioned the UK’s provide was a violation of previous communications between the 2 sides.

The British transfer might enable as much as three million residents of Hong Kong to settle within the UK and in the end apply for citizenship. The town was a British territory till its return to Chinese language rule in 1997, and on the time of the handover, China promised to ensure town’s legislative and judicial autonomy below a “one nation, two techniques” coverage for 50 years.

However with Beijing looking for to punish what it calls separatism and overseas interference in Hong Kong, critics concern the laws might put an finish to town’s autonomy and freedoms, together with the best to free speech and meeting.

Australia has additionally criticised Beijing’s transfer, and mentioned it was contemplating offering “comparable alternatives” to Hong Kong individuals as these supplied by the UK.

In its assertion, the Chinese language embassy in London referred to as on the British authorities to “view objectively and pretty” the nationwide safety legislation and respect Beijing’s place.

“If the British aspect makes unilateral modifications to the related apply, it’ll breach its personal place and pledges in addition to worldwide legislation and primary norms governing worldwide relations,” it mentioned, including:   “We firmly oppose this and reserve the best to take corresponding measures.”

It didn’t elaborate additional.


Individually, Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its personal, warned Taiwanese residents to keep away from pointless visits to or transit via Hong Kong, Macau or mainland China, calling the legislation “essentially the most outrageous in historical past”. 

In Hong Kong, a bunch of pro-Beijing legislators and about 20 supporters gathered exterior the US consulate on Thursday to sentence “American and overseas meddling in China’s inner affairs”.

Elizabeth Quat, a member of Hong Kong’s legislature, mentioned the arrest of some 370 protesters throughout demonstrations in opposition to the legislation on Wednesday confirmed the laws was essential to “restore” peace to town.

Hong Kong was plunged into turmoil final yr when a invoice proposing extradition to mainland China triggered months of mass protests that at instances descended into violence. The protests succeeded in getting authorities in Hong Kong to shelve the extradition invoice, however prompted the central authorities in Beijing to bypass town’s legislature and impose the nationwide safety legislation.

Chinese language state media on Thursday mentioned the laws would carry “prosperity and stability”.

“We should withstand the truth that the existence of authorized loopholes in safeguarding nationwide safety has already made Hong Kong society pay a heavy value,” a commentary within the Folks’s Day by day, the official newspaper of the Communist Social gathering, learn.

Anti-national security law protesters march at the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain, in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

1000’s of residents took to the streets to protest in opposition to the brand new legislation on Wednesday [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]

Activist flees

One among Hong Kong’s most outstanding younger democracy activists, Nathan Regulation, introduced he had fled abroad and can “proceed the advocacy work on the worldwide degree”.

The revelation got here as Hong Kong’s native authorities confirmed {that a} well-liked protest slogan used during the last yr was now unlawful.

“Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Instances” has change into a clarion name for pro-democracy protesters during the last yr, chanted by big crowds and plastered on banners.

It might be heard on the streets a day earlier as hundreds of residents defied a protest ban on Wednesday – the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China – blocking roads and voicing opposition to the invoice in a few of the worst unrest in months.

Nathan Law, standing committee member of the Demosisto political party, wears a protective face mask as he arrives for a news conference to announce his bid to enter into the unofficial pro-democratic

Nathan Regulation says he has left Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a brand new safety legislation [File: Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg]

Police responded with water cannon, pepper spray and tear gasoline. Seven officers had been injured, together with one who was stabbed within the shoulder and three others hit by a protester on a bike.

Ten individuals had been arrested below the brand new legislation, most of whom had been carrying flags or leaflets advocating for Hong Kong independence.

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