China to impose visa restrictions on Americans for Hong Kong interference

In a tit-for-tat move against the US, China said Monday it will impose a visa ban on Americans who interfere with matters involving Hong Kong ahead of the expected approval by Beijing of a controversial national security law for the semi-autonomous territory.

“As a response to the US’s wrongful decision to impose visa bans on Chinese officials, China decides to impose visa bans on Americans who behave badly in Hong Kong affairs,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Monday, Bloomberg News reported.

“Who will be the targets? Relevant people would know clearly themselves,” Zhao added.

On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would slap visa restrictions on hardline Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for efforts to restrict freedoms in Hong Kong.

His announcement came in response to moves by Beijing to impose new security legislation on Hong Kong, which recently prompted President Trump to begin the process of eliminating special economic treatment that has allowed the territory to remain a global financial center.

China’s legislature on Tuesday is expected to pass the national security law for Hong Kong that critics say will severely limit opposition politics and freedom of speech in the former British colony.

The security law would punish subversion and other offenses against the state in Hong Kong, where massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests were held last year.

Zhao reiterated China’s insistence that the law was “purely an internal affair of China, and no foreign country has the right to interfere.”

“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.

The US, Britain, the European Union and the United Nations rights watchdog have all voiced fears the law could be used to squelch criticism of Beijing.

With Post wires

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