In retaliation to restrictions slapped on Chinese officials this week, China on Thursday said that it will impose sanctions on US officials who have “performed badly” over Hong Kong issues.
Last year, Hong Kong was rocked by pro-democracy protests that were halted by Beijing’s draconian national security law, drawing criticism over eroding rights from countries including the US.
On Monday, the US said it was freezing any US assets and barring travel to the United States for 14 vice chairs of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which spearheaded the tough new law.
In response, China would impose “sanctions on US executive officials, congressional personnel, non-governmental organisation personnel… who have performed badly on Hong Kong-related issues,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing on Thursday.
Their immediate family members would also be affected, Hua said.
She said the government had also decided to cancel “visa exemption treatment” for temporary visits to Hong Kong and Macau by US diplomatic passport holders.
The moves were “in view of the United States using Hong Kong-related issues to seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs,” she said, calling for the US to “stop going further down a wrong and dangerous path.”
The United States has already slapped sanctions on Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam.
China’s rubber-stamp parliament pushed through the draconian new security law in June. Critics say it decimates the freedoms once enjoyed in Hong Kong, enshrined in an agreement made before the 1997 handover from British colonial rule back to China.