Senate passes bill to support human rights in Hong Kong

WASHINGTON — The Senate has easily approved a bill to support human rights in Hong Kong following months of often-violent unrest in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

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The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was passed by voice vote on Tuesday. It now goes to the House, which has already passed similar legislation.

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The bill would mandate sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and require an annual review of the favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said in introducing the bill that it would send a message of support to the Hong Kong people who have protested for basic freedoms in the face of Chinese government oppression.

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China’s government has promised unspecified countermeasures in response.