Two US senators introduced a bill aimed at defending Hong Kong's autonomy against what they say is increasingly brazen interference from the Chinese Communist Party.
Pat Toomey and Chris Van Hollen said it's obvious that Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the SAR, adding that its latest move to implement national security legislation in the city is simply aimed at curbing political dissent.
They say the Hong Kong Autonomy Act would impose mandatory sanctions on entities that violate China's obligations to Hong Kong under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.
The legislation would also impose mandatory secondary sanctions on banks that do business with these parties.
Van Hollen was asked if mainland companies like Huawei would likely be sanctioned:
"Our goal in this legislation is to make sure that those who are penalised are those who are making the decisions to deprive Hong Kong of its autonomy. We want to really keep the focus there," Van Hollen said.
Toomey said he hopes the legislation can be passed as soon as possible, adding that he believed it would have an impact on China:
"For the foreseeable future they will be very, very dependent on US dollar transactions so I think these sanctions that we've proposed are likely to be very, very powerful for a very long time," Toomey said.