Senators Introduce Bill Sanctioning Chinese Officials, Banks Over Hong Kong Crackdown

Shortly after it became clear that China has run out of patience with Hong Kong, when as reported earlier China's National Congress adopted a resolution calling for a new National Security law in Hong Kong, US senators immediately responded to China's attempt to further crackdown on Hong Kong autonomy as Beijing moves to stop widespread pro-democracy protests that have challenged leader Xi Jinping, by introducing a bipartisan bill that would sanction Chinese party officials and entities who enforce the new national-security laws in Hong Kong, with the legislation also would penalizing banks that do business with the entities, according to the WSJ.

The latest bill in a recent barrage of legislation targeting China comes one day after the Senate also passed a bill that could force the de-listing of Chinese companies in the US.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa) said they had been working on the bill already but Thursday’s developments made the legislation more urgent, and said they would urge Senate leaders to take up the matter quickly.

“We would impose penalties on individuals who are complicit in China’s illegal crackdown in Hong Kong,” Van Hollen said quoted by the WSJ. He called the move by Beijing “a gross violation” of China’s agreement with the U.K. to preserve more freedom and autonomy in the territory. Toomey called the move by China “very, very deeply disturbing.”

Last year, Trump signed a bill designed to show solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, despite expressing concerns it could complicate U.S.-China trade talks.

So far stocks have continued to ignore the constant escalation in tensions between the US and China clearly convinced that it is all just political theater, but when it comes to Hong Kong and US intervention in what Beijing deems "local matters", not to mention the ongoing feud over the origin of the coronavirus crisis, China couldn't be more serious, and with the China's National People's Congress starting tomorrow, a harsh response is inevitable.