Tit for tat as China sets visa curbs on 'vicious' Americans

Top News | Sophie Hui 30 Jun 2020

Beijing will impose visa restrictions on American individuals "who have acted viciously" on Hong Kong-related issues, the foreign ministry said in response to US sanctions against unnamed Chinese officials deemed responsible for curbing freedoms in the SAR.

In a press briefing in Beijing yesterday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announced the sanctions in response to a question about visa restrictions by Washington.

He replied: "In response to the erroneous actions of the US, China has decided to impose visa restrictions on US individuals who have acted viciously on Hong Kong-related issues."

The spokesman did not name which US individuals have been targeted.

"The US attempt to obstruct China's national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by adopting the so-called sanctions will be to no avail," Zhao said.

The move follows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's announcement on Friday that the United States will impose visa restrictions on current and former Chinese officials involved in "undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy or undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms."

He did not name any officials involved but said their family members could also be subject to the restrictions.

However, Zhao said the national security law for the SAR is a Chinese internal affair, which allows for no foreign interference.

He added that the central government is resolute in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests.

The foreign ministry official also reiterated Beijing's determination in implementing the one country, two systems policy - opposing external interference in Hong Kong's affairs.

On Thursday, the US Senate passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which seeks to impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts by China to restrict Hong Kong's autonomy.

Zhao said the Senate ignored the Chinese government's solemn stand and insisted on passing the negative motion.

He said America has maliciously defamed the proposed national security legislation and has seriously interfered in Hong Kong affairs.

Zhao said the Senate's decision had violated international law and the basic principles of international relations, adding China has lodged a complaint with the United States over the bill.

He said the bill was "waste paper" and the "troublemaking separatists in Hong Kong and anti-China external forces would not stop the national security legislation for the SAR." He said their plans are "doomed to fail."

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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