The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation that would penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement national security legislation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a “brutal, sweeping crackdown” on Hong Kong.
The measure passed by unanimous consent, reflecting concern in Washington over China’s enactment of security legislation seen as ending the autonomy that allowed the territory to thrive as an international financial center.
The US Senate last week passed similar legislation, but under congressional rules, the bill must return to the Senate and be passed there before being sent to the White House for US President Donald Trump to sign it into law or veto.
Earlier, Pelosi made an unusual appearance at a committee hearing on the situation in Hong Kong to say that the security legislation marked the death of the “one country, two systems” model.
“The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised,” Pelosi said at the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the security law was an affront to all nations and Washington would continue to implement Trump’s directive to end the territory’s special status.
The US has already begun eliminating Hong Kong’s special status, halting defense exports and restricting the territory’s access to technology products.
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