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China to impose tit-for-tat visa restrictions on US officials over Hong Kong

June 29, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

China will impose visa restrictions on certain United States individuals in response to Washington's move last week to place similar limits on Chinese officials over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong (CNN)China will impose visa restrictions on certain United States individuals in response to Washington's move last week to place similar limits on Chinese officials over Hong Kong.

Visa restrictions will be imposed on certain Americans with "egregious conduct relating to Hong Kong," Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday.

He added that attempts by Washington "to obstruct China's legislation for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong," by imposing sanctions against officials in the city and Beijing "will never succeed. "

"The national security law for Hong Kong is purely China's internal affairs and foreign countries have no right to interfere," Zhao said.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would impose visa restrictions on current and former Chinese officials who "were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong's freedom" and were "responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. "

This action comes about a month after the Trump administration declared Hong Kong no longer maintained a high degree of autonomy from China, due to Beijing's plan to impose the new national security law on the city.

"The United States will also take necessary steps to sanction PRC and Hong Kong officials directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong's autonomy and -- just if you take a look, smothering -- absolutely smothering Hong Kong's freedom.

It could also allow mainland Chinese security services to operate in Hong Kong for the first time and give Beijing the power to override local laws, as well as send certain defendants to mainland China for trial.

Carrie Lam, the city's chief executive, has said the law will ensure "the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. "

Arbitrary punishments and secret detentions are almost unheard of in Hong Kong -- but people worry this new law could change that.

Critics say the law could cause increasing self-censorship in the media, the exclusion of pro-democracy figures from the city's legislature, and threaten Hong Kong's reputation as a safe base for international businesses.

According to a recent survey carried out by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute for Reuters, a majority of respondents opposed the law, but support for pro-democracy protests in the city has slipped.

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