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China to impose visa restrictions on US individuals with ‘egregious conduct’ over Hong Kong



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China will impose visa restrictions on US individuals with “egregious conduct” on Hong Kong-related issues, officials announced on Monday.

The move mirrors US sanctions against Chinese officials who are deemed responsible for “undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy”.

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

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who announced the new sanctions during a press briefing on Monday, did not specify which US individuals have been targeted.

“The US is attempting to obstruct China’s legislation for safeguarding national security in the HK SAR (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 US individuals with egregious conduct on HK-related issues.”

Protesters call for ‘liberation of Hong Kong’ – In pictures

1/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters run away from tear gas during a march against China’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

REUTERS

2/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

REUTERS

3/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

4/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Hong Kong riot police fire tear gas as hundreds of protesters march along a downtown street during a pro-democracy protest

AP

5/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Hundreds of protesters with banners march along a downtown street during a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong

AP

6/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Pro-democracy protesters march during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

7/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Pro-democracy protesters march during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

8/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Riot police checking citizens on a roadside during a protest in Hong Kong

AP

9/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Protesters set up blockades during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

10/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Burning debris is seen on a street during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

11/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Medical volunteers help a man to move away as police fire teargas during a protest in Hong Kong

AP

12/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters move away after riot police disperse them during a march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

REUTERS

1/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters run away from tear gas during a march against China’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

REUTERS

2/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

REUTERS

3/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

4/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Hong Kong riot police fire tear gas as hundreds of protesters march along a downtown street during a pro-democracy protest

AP

5/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Hundreds of protesters with banners march along a downtown street during a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong

AP

6/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Pro-democracy protesters march during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

7/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Pro-democracy protesters march during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

8/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Riot police checking citizens on a roadside during a protest in Hong Kong

AP

9/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Protesters set up blockades during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

10/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Burning debris is seen on a street during a protest against Beijing’s national security legislation in Hong Kong

AP

11/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Medical volunteers help a man to move away as police fire teargas during a protest in Hong Kong

AP

12/12 Hong Kong protest – 24/05/2020

Anti-government protesters move away after riot police disperse them during a march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong

REUTERS

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the new visa restrictions imposed 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”.

The US Senate also approved a bill that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies which back efforts to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy.

It includes secondary sanctions on banks that do business with anyone backing any crackdown on the territory’s autonomy.

Zhao, the foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters that China has lodged a complaint with the US over the bill and warned that Beijing will respond with “strong countermeasures” in response to US actions on Hong Kong.

Read more

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region which has had a “one country, two systems” policy since Britain handed it to Chinese rule in 1997.

China’s parliament passed a draft of the controversial national security bill earlier this month.

The UK, Australia and Canada have said they are “deeply concerned” by the legislation which could undermine the one country, two systems principle.

Pro-democracy activists say the move to ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” will destroy Hong Kong’s autonomy.

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