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H.R. 7440 (116th): Hong Kong Autonomy Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 15, 2020.

Hong Kong Autonomy Act

This bill imposes sanctions on foreign individuals and entities that materially contribute to China's failure to preserve Hong Kong's autonomy.

Hong Kong is part of China but has a largely separate legal and economic system with protections for civil rights such as freedom of speech. This arrangement is enshrined in (1) the Joint Declaration, a 1984 treaty pertaining to the United Kingdom's transfer of Hong Kong's sovereignty to China; and (2) the Basic Law, Hong Kong's constitutional document.

The Department of State shall report annually to Congress information about (1) foreign individuals and entities that materially contributed to China's failure to comply with the Joint Declaration or the Basic Law; and (2) foreign financial institutions that knowingly conducted a significant transaction with such identified individuals and entities. An individual, entity, or financial institution may be excluded from this report for various reasons, such as to protect an intelligence source.

The President shall impose property-blocking sanctions on an individual or entity named in a report, and visa-blocking sanctions on a named individual. The President shall impose various sanctions on a financial institution named in a report, such as prohibiting the institution from receiving loans from a U.S. financial institution.

The President may waive or terminate the imposition of sanctions under this bill. Congress may override such a waiver or termination by passing a joint resolution of disapproval.