The US House of Representatives has just unanimously voted for a bill that impose sanctions on banks involved in business with Chinese officials responsible for the implementation of Beijing’s National Security Law.
Critics say that the National Security Law passed by the Chinese government earlier this week will serve to weaken the semi-autonomous status of Hong Kong, which has been wracked by its most recent wave of civil unrest since 2019.
Democrat representative Brad Sherman said on Twitter that the Hong Kong Autonomy Act is the companion version of a bill introduced in the the US upper house, and will impose targeted sanctions on “entities that violate Hong Kong’s autonomy, and the banks that do business with them.”
The bill, which passed the House on 2 July, specifically mentions violation of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Hong Kong as its rationale for action, and mandates that the Secretary of State identify Chinese officials that are involved.
Under the bill the US President is required to impose sanctions on such “foreign persons,” which includes prohibitions on them holding and trading in US assets or obtaining US visas.
The Secretary of State and the Treasury Secretary are also called upon to identify foreign financial institutions that “knowingly conduct a significant financial transaction” with any of the above “foreign persons.”
Following their identification the President is required to impose at least five out of 10 sanctions upon such foreign financial institutions, and a full 10 sanctions within a two year period.
These ten sanctions include:
- A ban on US banks making loans to such foreign institutions;
- A ban on such foreign institutions from being primary dealers in US treasures;
- A ban on the depositing of US government funds with such institutions;
- A ban on such foreign institutions undertaking foreign exchange transactions within US jurisdictions;
- A ban on such foreign institutions undertaking transfers or payments with other banks in US jurisdictions;
- A ban on the purchase or holding of any assets within the US;
- A ban on the export of US technology or software to such foreign institutions;
- A ban on US residents purchasing or holding stocks or bonds of such foreign institutions;
- A ban on such foreign institutions’ officers entering the US;
- The imposition of the first eight sanctions upon officers of such foreign institutions individually.