Visa curbs loom amid SAR, Xinjiang moves

Top News | Angel Kwan 4 Dec 2019

Beijing plans to impose visa restrictions on leading Americans for supporting Washington legislation relating to Hong Kong and Xinjiang, says the chief editor of the Communist Party's Global Times.

Hu Xijin tweeted yesterday that China might ban all US diplomatic passport holders from entering Xinjiang as well as legislators and officials who produced "odious performances" as the US Congress shaped a bill relating to the autonomous region.

The US Senate passed with bipartisan support in September the bill to sanction Chinese officials and bar the export of US goods and services to government entities in Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Uygurs and other Muslim minorities are said to be in detention camps.

Hu said earlier that those who drafted the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act might be banned from entering China, Hong Kong and Macau. It was signed into law by US President Donald Trump last week.

The legislation, which requires Washington to review annually the SAR's favorable trade status and allows for sanctions on officials who infringe upon Hong Kong freedoms, has been criticized by Beijing as interference in its internal affairs.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday it is China's responsibility to secure the one country, two systems arrangement, and the move by Washington was to ensure the system was not an empty promise to the people of Hong Kong.

He said protesters in Hong Kong wanted freedom, a chance to feed their families and put their beliefs into practice.

Beijing also said this week it will sanction several American democratic organizations in retaliation for the passage of the law and for "odious" behavior in supporting protests in Hong Kong.

One of the organizations, Freedom House, said sanctions will not prevent it standing with Hong Kong protesters.

In a statement yesterday, Freedom House declared: "The Communist Party's most recent actions will only strengthen our resolve as we continue to oppose its well-documented efforts to undermine fundamental human rights.

"We call on Beijing to live up to its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that governed the territory's 1997 transfer to China. We do not look to the Communist Party for permission to support such legitimate goals."

The organization's president, Michael Abramowitz, described Beijing stance's as "bellicose" with views "antithetical to democratic values and universal human rights."

angel.kwan@singtaonewscorp.com

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