U.S. Senate panel's consideration of China bill now set for April 21

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FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider sweeping legislation to counter China's influence on April 21 instead of the planned date of April 14, committee aides said on Friday.

Democratic and Republican leaders of the panel announced the "Strategic Competition Act of 2021" on Thursday. It includes a range of diplomatic and strategic initiatives to counteract Beijing, reflecting hard-line sentiment on dealings with China members of both political parties.

The 280-page bill addresses economic competition with China, but also humanitarian and democratic values, such as imposing sanctions over the treatment of the minority Muslim Uighurs and supporting democracy in Hong Kong.

China is one of the most bipartisan issues in Washington, with both Democrats and Republicans generally backing efforts to do more to compete against Beijing.

However, Democrats had said they hoped the committee would pass the bill on April 14 to clear the way for the full Senate to schedule a vote quickly. Republicans said the week-long delay would give committee members more time to understand the bill and draft amendments.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by David Gregorio)