China to slap visa restrictions on Americans over Hong Kong
China said it will slap visa restrictions on Americans with bad records in Hong Kong-related issues, criticizing Washington for attempts to throw a wrench in a national security law planned to be introduced in the semiautonomous Chinese territory.
“China has decided to impose visa restrictions against American individuals who have behaved egregiously on matters concerning Hong Kong,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a press briefing on Monday, Press TV reported.
The move comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that it was restricting US visas for a number of unspecified Chinese officials for allegedly infringing on the autonomy of Hong Kong.
The spokesman did not specify which US individuals have been targeted.
“In response ... China has decided to impose visa restrictions on US individuals with egregious conduct on Hk-related issues,” Lijian said.
The announcement comes as China’s parliament – the National People’s Congress Standing Committee – is looking into the national security bill drafted with the aim of countering sedition, secession and subversion in Hong Kong against the mainland.
Reports say the bill has overwhelming support among the Chinese legislators.
Several protests have been held in Hong Kong over the past week against the draft law. Washington has openly voiced support for the anti-beijing demonstrations, angering China.
Last week, the US Senate approved a bill that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that, Washington claims, 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.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian attends a news conference in Beijing, China, on April 8, 2020.