China suspended U.S. warship visits and sanctioned American NGOs on Monday in retaliation for the passage of a Bill backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The financial hub has been rocked by nearly six months of increasingly violent unrest demanding greater autonomy, which Beijing has frequently blamed on foreign influence.
Last week U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the President to annually review the city’s favourable trade status and threatens to revoke it if the semi-autonomous territory’s freedoms are quashed.
“In response to the unreasonable behaviour of the U.S. side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for U.S. warships to go to Hong Kong for (rest and) recuperation as of today,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.
Mr. Hua said they would also apply sanctions to a number of U.S.-based NGOs, without giving much details.
Sanctions will apply to NGOs that had acted “badly” over the recent unrest in Hong Kong, she said, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.