House passes bill to sanction Chinese banks over Hong Kong security law

House passes bill to sanction Chinese banks over Hong Kong security law
© Greg Nash

The House passed legislation by unanimous consent on Wednesday that would impose sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials implementing a national security law to crack down on protesters in Hong Kong.

Passage of the bill comes after the Chinese government enacted a law earlier this week that allows it to override Hong Kong's judicial system, which critics say undermines the territory’s semi-autonomous status.

"No one should face life in prison for demonstrating. Now, Hong Kongers are fleeing Hong Kong out of fear for their safety, and we should support their right to do so. We need to impose consequences on the Chinese government for its actions towards #HongKong," tweeted Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanSherman joins race for House Foreign Affairs gavel Castro launches bid for House Foreign Affairs gavel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill MORE (D-Calif.), one of the authors of the bill.

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The bill now heads to the Senate, which passed a similar bill last week, before it heads to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE

Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyDunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show MORE (R-Pa.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenExclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (D-Md.), who introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber, said in a joint statement on Wednesday that they expected concurrence with the House bill as soon as Thursday.

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"America must stand with the people of Hong Kong," Toomey and Van Hollen said in a joint statement.

The Trump administration announced last week that it will impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials involved with efforts to exert more control over Hong Kong. 

Congress and the Trump administration have also recently pursued sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority. 

Trump signed bipartisan legislation into law last month that imposes sanctions on officials responsible for the Uighur labor camps in China's Xinjiang region.