All 14 vice-chairpersons of the committee are under US sanctions for passing the Hong Kong national security law last year that critics say has crippled political freedoms. The US and its allies have increasingly sanctioned Chinese officials over China’s treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang and pro-democracy activities in Hong Kong, triggering counter-sanctions by China. Washington has also targeted Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE for violating US sanctions on Iran or North Korea.
The bill underwent a secret first reading in April and was passed on Thursday, barely two days after the NPC announced that it was doing a second reading of the bill. It skipped a third reading normally needed for other bills.