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China will impose tit-to-tat visa restrictions on US officials in Hong Kong



Visa restrictions will be imposed on some Americans with “egregious conduct towards Hong Kong,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

He added that Washington’s attempts “to obstruct Chinese national security protection legislation in Hong Kong” by imposing sanctions on city and Beijing officials “will never be successful.”

“Hong Kong’s national security law is purely China’s internal affairs and foreign countries have no right to interfere,” said Zhao.

The Chinese National People’s Congress is currently in the final stages of drafting the law – the details of which have not been revealed ̵

1; and is expected to pass this week, perhaps even by Tuesday.

When reporters asked which “US individuals” could be affected by the new visa restrictions, Zhao said, “I think these relevant people know this very well.”

U.S. sanctions

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States will impose visa restrictions on current and former Chinese officials who “were responsible for undermining Hong Kong’s freedom” and “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the high Hong Kong’s degree of autonomy. “

He did not name Chinese individuals.

“Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the full implementation of the Joint Sino-British Declaration, as well as respect for human rights, are paramount. The United States will continue to review its authorities to address these concerns,” he said. said Pompey.

Visa penalties are not as stinging as economic sanctions, but they do send a message to Beijing and could impact the travel of the children of Chinese officials, who often attend universities in the United States. These sanctions come as US-China relations continue to unravel.

This action comes about a month after the Trump administration has declared that Hong Kong has no longer maintained a high degree of autonomy from China, due to Beijing’s plan to impose the new national security law on the city.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last month that Chinese Communist Party officials would face consequences.

“The United States will also take the necessary measures to sanction officials from the PRC and Hong Kong directly or indirectly involved in the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and – only if you take a look, suffocating – absolutely suffocating Hong Kong’s freedom. Our actions will be strong. Our actions will be significant, “Trump told reporters on May 30th.

A government announcement (C) that promotes the national security law planned by Chinas is displayed on the Hong Kong city hall building on June 29, 2020.

The law generates alarm

National security law is expected to criminalize secession, subversion against the central Chinese government, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security.

It could also allow mainland China’s security services to operate for the first time in Hong Kong and give Beijing the power to bypass local laws, as well as send defendants to mainland China for trial.

Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said the law will guarantee “Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.”

Many fear that the law could be used to target dissidents, a fear that stems from the Chinese judicial tradition.

On the mainland, national security laws have been used to prosecute democracy activists, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists. Arbitrary penalties and secret detentions are almost unheard of in Hong Kong – but people fear that this new law will change it. The South China Morning Post reported Monday, citing unnamed sources, that life imprisonment is being considered for some cases.

Critics say the law could cause increasing self-censorship in the media, the exclusion of pro-democracy figures from the city legislature and threaten Hong Kong’s reputation as a secure base for international businesses.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Hong Kong Public Research Institute for Reuters, the majority of respondents opposed the law, but support for democratic protests in the city has slipped.

Surveillance of protests has been heavy in recent months, with marches and demonstrations banned for coronavirus fears. On Sunday, police arrested 53 protesters for illegal assembly in the city’s Mong Kok area after a demonstration against the proposed law.

An annual anti-government demonstration on July 1 – held annually to celebrate Hong Kong’s move to Chinese domination in 1997 – has been denied police authorization.

Philip Wang of CNN contributed to the report.


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