US Congress passes Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

DHARAMSALA, 21 Nov: US lawmakers have unanimously approved Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act as mass pro-democracy protests have gripped the island since June earlier this year. 

A bill that supports human rights in Hong Kong was passed with near-unanimous margins in both the chambers of the US Congress.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act passed the House of Representatives by 417 to 1, on Wednesday, a day after the Senate unanimously passed the measure.

The development came as hundreds of protesters are trapped inside a Hong Kong university in a tense standoff with riot police in Hong Kong that enters fifth-day today.

The bill now heads to the desk of the US President Donald Trump who will either sign it into law or veto it.

The bill mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and require an annual review of the favourable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

“The passage of this bill is an important step in holding accountable those Chinese and Hong Kong government officials responsible for Hong Kong’s eroding autonomy and human rights violations,” the Time quoted Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of nearly 50 co-sponsors of the bill as saying after it cleared the Senate.

Michael McCaul, a top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has stated that the votes marked an unusually strong show of bipartisanship in divided Washington after it cleared the House of Representatives.

“America stands with you and America will always support you,” McCaul said as he denounced China’s “authoritarian brutality” on display in Hong Kong, AFP reported.

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