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China said it would be imposing visa restrictions on US residents as an act of retaliation against the country’s moves to discipline officials connected to Hong Kong’s political crackdowns, reports Global News.
The announcement, made today, noted that restrictions would be imposed on Americans because China believes that America “performed badly” on matters concerning the semi-autonomous Chinese territory of Hong Kong.
No details were provided by Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing announcement. It is still unclear whether the move only targets US government officials or will be imposed on individuals in the private sector too.
Zhao noted that the law was “purely an internal affair of China, and no foreign country has the right to interfere.”
The news comes as a national security law is expected to be passed in Hong Kong on Tuesday which critics believe will largely limit opposition politics in the city along with freedom of speech.
The US plans to respond to the move by putting an end to trading terms made for the former British colony when it fell under Chinese control in 1997.
On Thursday, a bill was unanimously approved by the Senate to impose sanctions on individuals and businesses that undermine the autonomy in Hong Kong or limit freedoms to residents of the city.
“The US side’s attempt to obstruct China from promoting Hong Kong’s national security legislation through the so-called sanctions will never succeed,” Zhao said.
“In response to the above-mentioned wrong behaviour of the U.S. side, China has decided to impose visa restrictions on U.S. personnel who perform badly on Hong Kong related issues.”
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have been advocating for their rights for over a year.