WASHINGTON — Thursday, the United States Senate unanimously approved the bipartisan Hong Kong Autonomy Act, authored by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which was introduced in response to increasingly brazen interference of the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong, 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 the entities in violation of the Basic Law.

“Today, the Senate stood up to the communist regime in Beijing and stood with the people of Hong Kong,” said Toomey. “The mandatory sanctions established in this bill will punish those in China who seek to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy or erode the basic freedoms promised to Hongkongers. I very much appreciate the great work done by Senator Van Hollen in helping to get this bill passed and I hope the House will take it up and pass it in short order, so the president can sign it.”

Van Hollen said the bi-partisan message of the bill is important.

“Today the Senate took meaningful action to hold China and its proxies to account for their ongoing efforts to extinguish liberty and democracy in Hong Kong. This legislation sends a strong, bipartisan message that the United States stands with the people of Hong Kong. We urge the Government of China to abandon their ongoing efforts to repress freedoms in Hong Kong. There will be a price to pay if they continue down that path. I appreciate Senator Toomey’s partnership on this crucial legislation, and I urge my colleagues in the House to take it up without delay,” said Van Hollen.