Senators also approved a ban on the export of ammunition for the Hong Kong police.
The US Senate unanimously approved a bill aimed at protecting civil rights in Hong Kong, where for months local authorities with the support of Beijing have been trying to suppress the democratic protest movement.
After the vote in the Senate, the law “On human rights and democracy in Hong Kong” will be submitted for a vote in the House of Representatives, which previously approved its version of the bill. The two houses of Congress will have to work out a single version of the document, which President Donald Trump must then sign.
Senators also unanimously passed a bill today banning the export of certain types of ammunition to arm the Hong Kong police. The Senate has banned exports to Hong Kong of tear and pepper gas, rubber bullets and tasers used by security forces to disperse demonstrators.
The White House has not commented on the bill. President Trump should make the final decision on the adoption of the law. A White House source recently reported that the President has not yet made a decision. According to a source who spoke to Free News on condition of anonymity, if the bill gets to the President’s Desk, it could cause disputes between Trump’s advisers, some of whom are concerned that the bill could lead to the breakdown of trade talks with China. There are also people in the President’s entourage who believe it is time to speak up for Hong Kong’s human rights and status.
The Chinese Embassy has not yet commented on the adoption of the bill in the Senate.
Advisers in the Senate expect the bill to pass as part of the sweeping State Defense act, which is expected to be finally approved by two houses of Congress before the end of 2019.
The bill requires the Secretary of state to check at least once a year whether Hong Kong has sufficient autonomy. Only in this case, the United States will continue to provide Hong Kong with trade preferences, which are now used by this territory in the status of one of the world’s financial centers. The bill also provides for sanctions against officials who violate the civil rights of Hong Kong residents.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer commented on the bill: “We sent a message to President XI [Jinping]: we will not tolerate your suppression of freedoms, whether in Hong Kong, Northwest China or anywhere else. You cannot be a great leader – and you cannot be a great country if you suppress freedom if you are so cruel to the people of Hong Kong, the young and the old who are protesting.”