China vows retaliation after Hong Kong bill backing protesters passes in US Senate

'The US has to bear all the consequences,' foreign ministry says

China threatened to retaliate against the U.S. after the Senate unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday to support human rights in Hong Kong following months of widespread anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous city.

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On Tuesday, the Senate approved the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, first introduced by China hawk Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would require an annual review of whether the city is sufficiently autonomous from China and sanction officials who commit human rights violations against protesters.

"China will take strong opposing measures, and the US has to bear all the consequences," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement after the bill was passed.

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The bill's passage in the Senate came after the House passed its own version last month, and prompted outcry and swift condemnation from Beijing.

"We urge the U.S. to immediately take measures to prevent the case from becoming a law, immediately stop interfering with Hong Kong affairs and stop interfering in China's internal affairs," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters on Wednesday.

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Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 under an agreement known as "one country, two systems," which allowed the city to retain a "high-degree of autonomy" for 50 years. The agreement expires in 2047.

Police in riot gear move through a cloud of smoke as they detain a protester at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Concerns about overt Chinese influence in Hong Kong have heightened in recent months, as protests -- triggered this summer by a now-shelved extradition bill, but which have since morphed broader calls for reform -- have grown increasingly violent.

Protests, now in their fifth month, descended into some of the worst violence yet this week as activists clashed with police, who laid a days-long siege to a university campus. Since the siege began Sunday, more than 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds of injured treated at hospitals, according to the Associated Press.

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FOX Business' R.N. White contributed to this report.