China to put visa restrictions on US officials over Hong Kong
- Any American efforts to undermine introduction of national security law for the city will not succeed, foreign ministry says
- Beijing silent on what officials and how many will be targeted
China has announced visa restrictions on US officials who “behave egregiously” in relation to Hong Kong affairs.
The move is in retaliation for Washington’s decision last week to restrict visas for Chinese officials who undermine Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status.
Announcing the restrictions on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said any efforts by the US to hinder Beijing’s introduction of a
national security law in Hong Kong
“would not succeed”.
“In view of the erroneous actions of the US, China has decided to impose visa restrictions on US officials who behave egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues,” Zhao said, without saying who or how many officials would be targeted.
“No matter how Hong Kong separatists squawk, and no matter what kind of pressure is exerted by external anti-China forces, their scheme to obstruct the passage of the Hong Kong national security law will never prevail and the bill is but piece of waste paper,” he added, referring to
the US Senate’s passage of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act last week
On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced US visa restrictions on serving and former Communist Party officials “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in” undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy, rights, and freedoms.
Pompeo, too, did not elaborate and China responded immediately by threatening retaliation.
The national security law is expected to be passed by the Standing Committee of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, which started a three-day meeting on Sunday.
Last week, European Union leaders warned Chinese President Xi Jinping of “very negative consequences” over its plan to introduce the law in Hong Kong.
“The national security law risks seriously undermining the ‘one country, two systems’ principle,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “We also conveyed that China risks very negative consequences if it goes forward with imposing this law.”
The US’ Hong Kong Autonomy Act comes on the heels of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and seeks to establish mandatory sanctions for individuals or companies that have “materially contributed” to China’s failure to comply with the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution.
It would also impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that have “knowingly conducted significant transactions” with those individuals and entities.
The US House of Representatives must pass the bill before it can become law.
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