US Threatens to Impose Sanctions against China’s National Security Law
In the wake of China’s controversial national security law in Hong Kong that sparked a wave of protests, fear and controversy in the semi-autonomous land, the US has taken a big decision. The US Senate has unanimously passed a bill meant to impose sanctions on Chinese officials recognised for undermining Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status.
Not only the Chinese officials, but also the banks and state entities doing business with them will be subjected to the new sanctions. The move is a clear threat to other business entities, although the question remains that whether or not will it be possible for the US to bring such a big step into action.
Speaking on the legislation, Maryland’s Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, who is also one of the bill’s co-authors, said that the US government would have to act “on individuals in the government of China who are undermining the rights of people in Hong Kong.”
China’s sweeping national security law for Hong Kong would allow mainland Chinese officials to operate in Hong Kong for the first time and give Beijing the power to override local laws. The critics believe that the law would compromise and override Hong Kong’s own legal processes, which is an erosion of the city’s precious civil and political freedoms.
As the law suggests, Beijing will be allowed to establish a national security office to supervise the law in Hong Kong. The city’s independent judiciary will further be jeopardised with Hong Kong’s top officials having the power to pick judges for hearing national security cases. In some special cases, mainland Chinese authorities will be allowed to exercise jurisdiction, which is a clear indication that some of the trials would happen on the mainland.
For sure, it’s the national security law’s controversial nature that has created huge chaos and disruption in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the Chinese and local governments in Hong Kong have called the law necessary to curb the unrest and to uphold the mainland sovereignty. The law previously faced fierce public opposition when the politicians in Hong Kong attempted to pass the legislation. The Chinese law is now expected to go into effect by July.
Along with introducing sanctions against China’s national security law, the US government has opted for another aggressive approach against Beijing. The US president has signed a sanctions bill into law that requires the administration to compile a report on China’s treatment of millions of Uighur Muslims and identify Chinese government officials on whom sanctions would be to imposed.
Clearly, the US through its measures is attempting to warn Chinese officials over their actions, taking a firm stance for all civilians affected or to be affected by the Chinese law. More than 200 lawmakers from 24 countries have signed an open letter in opposition to the bill stating national security law, raising grave concerns for civilians’ fundamental rights and freedoms.
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