China to impose visa restrictions on US individuals acting viciously on HK-related issues
China will impose visa restrictions on US individuals who have acted viciously on issues related to Hong Kong, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.
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 on Chinese officials, did not specify which US individuals have been targeted.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the new visa restrictions by Washington apply to “current and former” officials of the Communist Party of China “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.”
The US attempt to obstruct China’s national security legislation for Hong Kong by adopting the so-called sanctions will be to no avail, Zhao said.
“In response ... China has decided to impose visa restrictions on US individuals with egregious conduct on Hong Kong related issues.”
Zhao reaffirmed China’s determination to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests as well as the principle of “one country, two systems.” He stressed that the national security legislation for Hong Kong is “purely China’s internal affairs,” in which no foreign country has the right to interfere. China firmly opposes any foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs, he added.
The US Senate also approved a bill last week that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that 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 told reporters that China has lodged a complaint with the US over the bill and warned that Beijing will respond with strong countermeasures.
Zhao warned on Monday that the US “should not review, advance or implement relevant negative bills concerning Hong Kong, even less impose so-called sanctions on China, otherwise China will firmly take strong countermeasures.”
A draft law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong is under deliberations during an ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.