The House of Representatives on Wednesday night passed a bill to impose sanctions on entities that help violate Hong Kong's autonomy and financial institutions that do business with them, a response to the passage of a "national security" law that tightened Beijing's grip on Hong Kong — which has been semi-autonomous from China since 1997.
And on the heels of the House legislation Wednesday, the State Department Thursday morning released a letter to American businesses warning of "reputational, economic and legal" problems they could see by continuing to do business with companies in the Xinjiang region of China.
"The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to impose draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements," he said.
A Congressional Research Service summary of the legislation says it provides for sanctions against "foreign individuals and entities that materially contributed to China's failure" to respect Hong Kong's autonomy and "foreign financial institutions that knowingly conducted a significant transaction with such identified individuals and entities."
The sanctions against financial institutions would be mandatory and the sanctions against "entities and individuals" would be at the discretion of the president, unless they are named on State Department reports as helping violate Hong Kong's autonomy for two consecutive years.