China's new Hong Kong national security law is "a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday as the House unanimously passed new sanctions. The bill targets Chinese officials behind the draconian law, banks who do business with them, and Hong Kong police units that have quashed protests, Politico reports. The Senate passed a similar measure last week and President Trump could sign the legislation as soon as Thursday. "All freedom-loving people must condemn this horrific law," Pelosi said. The law, which Beijing rushed to approve Tuesday, introduces harsh penalties for activities deemed to be subversive or secessionist. More:
- China threatens UK over residency offer. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that the UK would make good on its promise to offer residency and a path to citizenship for around 3 million people in its former colony, the Guardian reports. Beijing, however, has threatened to block Hong Kongers from emigrating to Britain. A foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday that Beijing would take countermeasures and Britain "would bear all the consequences" if it gave residency to Hong Kongers fleeing the law.
- For and against: Axios has the list of 53 countries that publicly backed China in a statement at the UN Human Rights Council. Most are autocratic states. Another 27 nations criticized the law. The US withdrew from the council in 2018 and isn't on either list.
- "It's sad that Hong Kong is dead." Pro-democracy Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai tells the AP that the "very draconian but also very vague" law will kill Hong Kong as he knows it. "It’s worse than the worst scenario imagined. Hong Kong is totally subdued, totally under control," he says. “It’s sad that Hong Kong is dead." He says that while his family might have to leave, he plans to stay and somehow keep up the fight for Hong Kong's freedoms.