The United States Senate on Thursday passed the ‘Hong Kong autonomy act’ unanimously. This act will allow the US government to penalize banks that will be doing business with the Chinese government or Chinese officials trying to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy by the new National Security Law.
US Senate unanimously passed the #HongKongAutonomyAct yesterday.— The Epoch Times Hong Kong (@EpochTimesHK) June 26, 2020
It defends Hong Kong against #CCP National Security Law by imposing sanctions on individuals & entities that violate Hong Kong’s basic freedoms. #HKPolice officers are also able to be sanctioned. pic.twitter.com/5QqPabEzlo
The bill was brought in by the Democrat Chris Van Hollen from Maryland and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. As per reports, companion legislation has been introduced in the house with bipartisan support that is required to pass in the house of representatives to reach President Donald Trump’s desk.
Pat Toomey informed, “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 Hongkongers.”
The bill will allow sanctions against officials and institutions
As per reports, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act will enable the USA to restrict or ban visas for officials travelling to the USA, restrict them from acquiring property and making financial transactions subject to the jurisdiction of USA. Any banks or financial institutions who knowingly deal with such persons will be held accountable too.
The amended legislation would apply sanctions against financial institutions only if a bank is intentionally involved in a business with an official or entity that has already been sanctioned or contribute to the contravention of China’s obligation.
Trump signed Uighur bill
Last week, The Trump administration in the USA had signed legislation that allows the American Government to hold Chinese officials responsible for China’s persecution of Uighur and other Muslim minority groups. The bill, formally named the “Uighur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020,” was approved by the House and Senate in May.
Legislation asks for the closure of camps in Xinjiang
The Hill reported that the legislation objects to the treatment of Uighur Muslims and other Muslim minorities by the Chinese Communist Party. It calls for closure of such camps in the Xinjiang region of China. The legislation gives the American government the power to identify and sanction individuals responsible for the abuse of minority groups.
China’s National Security law
China recently passed a controversial national security law that significantly restricts the autonomy previously enjoyed by Hong Kong and enables extradition of wrongdoers from Hong Kong to Mainland China. Widespread protests had erupted in the city for much of last year but the coronavirus pandemic changed the scenario. Taking the cover of the coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese Communist Party quickly passed the national security law on the pretext of restoring law and order in the semi-autonomous region. Protesters have claimed this to be in violation of the treaty signed with Britain in 1997 and termed China’s move as autocratic to quell the dissenting voices.