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Thursday, 21 January 2021

US Senate unanimously passes bill on Hong Kong

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US Senate unanimously passes bill on Hong Kong
US Senate unanimously passes bill on Hong Kong

The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday that would protect human rights in Hong Kong, coming as anti-government protesters continue to be trapped at the Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, with more than a thousand arrests made by police outside the campus since late Monday.

Jayson Albano reports.

The United States Senate unanimously passed a bill on Hong Kong Tuesday (November 19).

It's a sign of support for the pro-democracy protesters after months of unrest.

Senator Ted Cruz said this ahead of the vote: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SENATOR TED CRUZ, SAYING: "The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act is important legislation.

It is bipartan legislation.

[...] The people of Hong Kong are engaged in an existential battle for liberty." It still needs to go back to the House of Representatives.

But if it became law it would punish officials who commit human rights violations in the city.

And bring Hong Kong's special status with the U.S. under an annual review.

The White House hasn't commented on the move, and it's unclear whether President Trump supports it.

One U.S. official said it's probably sparked an intense debate among Trump aides, who worry it could undermine trade talks with China.

The Senate also passed a second bill that would ban certain exports to Hong Kong police forces.

Including tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray, which have become a common sight in the embattled city.

Tuesday's votes have caused outrage in China.

They're - again - accusing the U.S. of meddling in its internal affairs.

And have summoned the U.S. embassy official in China.

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