(Nov 20): The US Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday aimed at supporting protesters in Hong Kong and warning China against a violent suppression of the demonstrations – drawing a rebuke from Beijing.

China reiterated Wednesday a threat to impose unspecified retaliation if the bill became law and urged the US to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs. Separately, the city’s government expressed “extreme regret” over the bill, saying it would negatively impact relations between Hong Kong and the US.

The vote marks a challenge to the government in Beijing just as the US and China, the world’s largest economies, seek to close a preliminary agreement to end their trade war. The Senate measure would require the State Department to certify annually whether Hong Kong remains sufficiently autonomous from Beijing to justify special trade privileges, as well as protect US citizens from rendition to China through measures including sanctions on mainland officials.

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