Beijing to bar Americans with 'egregious conduct on HK issues'

China | 29 Jun 2020 5:51 pm

Beijing said it will impose visa restrictions on U.S. individuals with “egregious conduct” on Hong Kong-related issues, mirroring U.S. sanctions against unnamed Chinese officials deemed responsible for curbing freedoms in the city, Reuters reports.

State media said Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Democrat Senator Chris van Hollen could be two  of the individuals targeted.  Senator Van Hollen, was a lead sponsor, of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act passed by unanimous consent last Thursday by the US Senate. 

The announcement comes as the top decision-making body of China’s legislature deliberates a draft national security law for Hong Kong that pro-democracy activists in the city fear will be used to eliminate dissent and tighten Beijing’s control.

“The U.S. is attempting to obstruct China’s legislation for safeguarding national security in the HKSAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) by imposing the so-called sanctions, but it will never succeed,” he told reporters.

“In response ... China has decided to impose visa restrictions on U.S. individuals with egregious conduct on HK related issues.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the new visa restrictions by Washington apply to “current and former” officials of China’s ruling Communist Party “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who announced the new sanctions during a press briefing in response to a question about Washington’s new visa restrictions, did not specify which U.S. individuals have been targeted.-Reuters/The Standard



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