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US senator introduces act to target govt officials

2019-11-01 HKT 10:06
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  • The sanctions would fall under the Magnitsky Act. Image: Shutterstock
    The sanctions would fall under the Magnitsky Act. Image: Shutterstock
Republican senator Josh Hawley has introduced legislation into the US Senate that will put sanctions on government officials and entities involved in the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The "Hong Kong Be Water" Act of 2019 condemns the Chinese government for violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Basic Law. It also calls for sanctions against Hong Kong and Mainland officials, and those operating on their behalf, who suppress Hongkongers' freedom of speech, association, assembly, procession and demonstration,

The sanctions, which would fall under the Global Magnitsky Act, would freeze the assets of Chinese nationals and state-owned enterprises connected to the crackdown.

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican senators Rick Scott of Florida and John Cornyn of Texas.

Senator Hawley recently visited the SAR to witness the protests and said Hong Kong was rapidly becoming a police state.

The Magnitsky Act of 2012 initially targeted Russian officials connected to the death of a Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky. He died in a Moscow jail in 2009 after investigating tax fraud linked to Russian officials.

Later in 2016, Congress enacted the Global Magnitsky Act. It allows the US government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses anywhere in the world.