China bans U.S. warships from Hong Kong in human rights row
BEIJING— China said Monday that it would suspend visits to Hong Kong by U.S. warships and impose sanctions on several U.S.-based non-governmental groups, in a mostly symbolic retaliation for tough human rights legislation that President Donald Trump signed last week.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said the measures were a response to the “unreasonable behaviour” on the part of the United States. She denounced the new human rights legislation as illegal interference into its domestic affairs.
In her remarks, Hua also accused several organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, of instigating violence during the antigovernment protests that have convulsed Hong Kong since June. It is unclear what form any Chinese sanctions on these groups would take.
Without citing evidence, Hua said these groups supported “anti-China forces in creating chaos in Hong Kong, and encouraged them to engage in extreme violent criminal acts.”
“They have a large responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong, and deserve to be sanctioned and pay the price.”
China has responded to the new legislation with strong rhetoric, but the measures announced Monday suggested that Beijing was unwilling to let the dispute spill over into its trade negotiations with the United States.