The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill Tuesday aimed at protecting the human rights of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. The Senate bill would allow the president to impose sanctions and travel restrictions on people who are found to be responsible for arbitrary detention, torture or forced confession of any individual in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act will now go to the House of Representatives. Beijing quickly denounced the bill, and Hong Kong officials said it would harm relations between the two countries.
The U.S Senate also unanimously passed a second bill that would ban the export of tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to Hong Kong’s police force. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Trump to voice support for Hong Kong’s protesters. President Trump had previously promised Chinese President Xi Jinping the United States would remain quiet about the protests as the two countries pursued trade talks over the summer.