China strikes back at US over HK law

Top News | Agence France-Presse and Charlotte Luo 3 Dec 2019

Beijing says it will suspend visits to Hong Kong by US Navy vessels and aircraft and sanction several American pro-democracy organizations in retaliation for the signing into law of legislation supporting human rights in the SAR.

Last week President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the president to annually review the city's favorable trade status and threatens to revoke it if freedoms are quashed.

China has long accused foreign groups and governments of helping the six-month-old demonstrations in Hong Kong, singling out the US, Britain and Taiwan.

At a news briefing in Beijing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China will further suspend Hong Kong port visits by US Navy ships over passage of the act.

Beijing had already denied requests for two US Navy ships to dock in Hong Kong in August, without explaining the reason.

"In response to the unreasonable behavior of the US side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for US warships and aircraft to go to Hong Kong for rest and recuperation as of today," Hua said. It would also apply sanctions to several US-based non-government organizations.

She did not specify the sanctions.

Sanctions will apply to NGOs that have acted "badly" over the unrest in Hong Kong, she said, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.

There was "already a large amount of facts and evidence that make it clear that these non-governmental organizations support anti-China" forces and incite separatist activities for Hong Kong independence, Hua said. She accused them of having "great responsibility for the chaotic situation in Hong Kong, and deserve to be sanctioned and pay the price."

Beijing urged Washington to correct its mistakes and stop any words and deeds that interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs.

Hua said China will take further necessary action as the situation develops, reiterating the country will "firmly defend Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, and firmly defend China's sovereignty, security and development interests."

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