China to restrict visa for some Americans over Hong Kong row

Police officers standing guard as people gather during a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Vincent Yu

China announced on Monday visa restrictions on U.S. citizens who have “behaved egregiously” over Hong Kong, ahead of the expected approval by Chinese lawmakers of a national security law for the city.

The country is moving forward on a law that would punish subversion and other offences against the state in Hong Kong, which saw massive and sometimes violent protests last year.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said it was restricting U.S. visas for a number of unspecified Chinese officials for infringing on the autonomy of the Asian financial hub. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the U.S. “scheme... to obstruct the passage of the Hong Kong national security law will never prevail”.

“To target the U.S.’s above wrongful actions, China has decided to impose visa restrictions against American individuals who have behaved egregiously on matters concerning Hong Kong,” Mr. Zhao said.

China’s top lawmaking committee is expected to adopt the law during sessions that end on Tuesday. While outlawing acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces, the legislation will allow China’s security agencies to set up shop publicly in the city for the first time.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would curb visas for unspecified current and former officials of the Chinese Communist Party “who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms”.

Economic sanctions

Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a Bill that would impose mandatory economic sanctions in the U.S. against Chinese officials and Hong Kong police identified as hurting the city’s autonomous status.

Mr. Zhao warned Monday that the U.S. “should not review, advance or implement relevant negative bills concerning Hong Kong, even less impose so-called sanctions on China, otherwise China will firmly take strong countermeasures”.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:23:23 AM |

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