China-Sanctions Bill on Hong Kong Law Passed by U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent a bill imposing sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials involved in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The bill, which is similar but not identical to a measure passed by the Senate last week, would have to be approved by the Senate before going to President Donald Trump for a signature. The measure is a response to the Chinese government enacting a strict new national security law for Hong Kong, a move many lawmakers said violated the government’s promise to honor the autonomy of the former British colony.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, making a special appearance at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday 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.

China described the security law as a “sword of Damocles” hanging over its most strident critics.

The House bill, which was slightly modified from the Senate version sponsored by Senators Pat Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, was changed because of a procedural snag that requires all revenue-producing bills to originate in the House.

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