Senate passes new sanctions to punish China over Hong Kong


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not disclose the names of the officials in-line with U.S. policy not to publicly discuss individual visa matters, but said they have been involved in "eviscerating Hong Kong's freedoms", and have violated the pact that ceded the semi-autonomous territory from the United Kingdom to China.

The measure, sponsored by Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, comes as tensions over Hong Kong have increased over the past year as China has cracked down on protesters and sought to exert more control over the former British territory.

The "Hong Kong Autonomy Act" passed by unanimous consent.

The mandatory sanctions established in this bill will punish those in China who seek to undermine Hong Kong's autonomy or erode the basic freedoms promised to Hong Kong residents under its one country, two systems concept.

China is guilty of undermining human rights and "fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong" by arresting pro-democracy activists and disqualifying pro-democracy electoral candidates, Pompeo said.

Leung argued the Chinese government has already released sufficient details of the national security law, including a broad description of the crimes it will cover - "secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign or external forces" - and changes to the judicial process, notably including judges appointed by Hong Kong's Beijing-controlled executive instead of the city's independent judiciary committee.

"Individuals subject to this visa restriction policy will be evaluated for their eligibility under this policy when they apply and may be refused visas", she said.

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His press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said he was seeking to put the onus for the virus' outbreak on the Chinese government. These are members of the propaganda apparatus in the PRC", Stilwell said in a conference call with reporters.

Police in Hong Kong announced on Saturday that the annual pro-democracy rally which takes place every year on July 1 has been banned for the first time in 17 years. "It is imperative that the worldwide community, and particularly the United Nations and its member states, act urgently to establish a mechanism for observing, monitoring and reporting on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Hong Kong". The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It also calls on the Chinese government to set up a national security office in the territory.

We urge the United States side to immediately correct its mistakes, withdraw the decisions and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs.

The visa restrictions on Chinese officials pertain to Beijing's actions in Hong Kong, which was handed to it by Britain in 1977 under the "One Country, Two Systems Agreement" under which it has to provide higher autonomy to the region.

"Due to persisting social unrest, Hong Kong police have cautiously assessed the risks and believe that some participants of this public assembly and public procession may depart from the planned rally location and marching route and violently vandalise buildings as listed above", the letter published by the CHRF on Facebook says.

But Mr Trump is also hopeful that China will implement a bilateral trade deal and has praised President Xi Jinping personally.