US Congress has approved the bill, which targets banks that do business with China, behind a stringent new Hong Kong security law that Beijing passed this week.
The Senate passed the law unanimously on Thursday, a day after the House of Representatives also passed it without opposition.
It was a rare opportunity to show how concerned both houses were about the situation in Hong Kong.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen said it was an urgent moment and the timing during his speech to support the Senate would not have been more critical.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey said that the bill now makes it clear which side the United States is on.
The passed bill imposes sanctions on companies that help violate Hong Kong’s autonomy and on financial institutions that do business with them.
During a conversation in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned the US not to sign or implement Thursday’s law. He added that if this is not the case, China will act resolutely and vigorously.
China has already imposed a visa restriction on US people who acted outrageously on matters concerning Hong Kong’s new security law.
On the other hand, the United States has ended Hong Kong’s special rank under US law by stopping defense exports and limiting the territory’s access to high-tech products.
The US State Department said it will in the meantime prevent law enforcement officers responsible for Hong Kong violations from entering the country.
China also warned the UK about its decision to offer citizenship to Hong Kong residents. They threatened to take appropriate measures and warned of interference in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The London-based Chinese embassy said in a statement that Chinese compatriots living in Hong Kong were Chinese nationals, adding that the UK’s offer violated previous communication between the two sides.
The British have offered up to three million Hong Kong residents to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.
Hong Kong was in British territory until 1997 when it was handed over to China, which promised to guarantee legislative and judicial autonomy for 50 years. But this policy for one country and two systems is now threatened by this new security law.
Many are seen as China’s move to pass a new security law to punish what it calls separatism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, and which will mean the end of the autonomy and freedom that Hong Kong has enjoyed, including the right to freedom speech and assembly.
The United States and Britain are not just the nations that criticize the new Hong Kong security rule.
Australia has become one of the nations that criticize Beijing to move. They promised to offer the same way as the UK and Hong Kong residents can as well apply for Australian citizenship.
Taiwan, a self-governing island, although Beijing normally claims this, described the new Hong Kong security law as the most outrageous in history, and warned its citizens to avoid unnecessary visits or transit through Hong Kong or Macau as well as the mainland China.
Charalotte Griffith is assignment Journalist at Chroniclex, Charalotte has covered Business, Politics and many other beats in her Journalism career and is currently living in Cleveland for more than 15 years. Charalotte has appeared periodically on national television shows and also has published her articles many regional publications such as Huffington Post and Mashable etc.