China suspends US Navy visits to Hong Kong over protest support
● Move is in reply to ‘America’s unreasonable behaviour’
is to suspend US military ship and aircraft visits to Hong Kong in retaliation for the signing into law of legislation supporting anti-government protests.
While the nature of the sanctions remained unclear, the move followed Chinese warnings that the US would bear the costs if the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act was approved.
The steps are “in response to America’s unreasonable behaviour,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing, adding that the legislation seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs.
The law, signed last Wednesday by President Donald Trump, mandates sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favourable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.
The legislation was backed by US politicians who are sympathetic to the protesters and have criticised Hong Kong police for cracking down on the pro-democracy movement.
Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other force is a necessary response to escalating violence by the protesters, who have blocked major roads and thrown petrol bombs back at officers in riot gear.
Hong Kong has been living with almost nonstop protests for six months. The movement’s demands include democratic elections and an investigation into the police response. More fundamentally, the protesters and others in Hong Kong fear that China is eroding the rights and freedoms they have under a “one country, two systems” framework.
Hua said China would sanction organizations including the National Endowment for Democracy, the Nation china al Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute, Freedom House and others that she said had “performed badly” in the Hong Kong unrest.
“China urges the United States to correct its mistakes and stop any words and deeds that interfere in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs,” she said, adding that China could take “further necessary actions” depending on how matters develop.
Hua accused the groups of instigating protesters to engage in “radical violent crimes and inciting separatist activities.”
“These organizations deserve to be sanctioned and must pay a price,” Hua said.
In Hong Kong, several hundred people who work in advertising started a fiveday strike Monday to show support for the anti-government protests. They said they would not go to work, respond to work emails or take part in conference calls.
Some held up signs with protest slogans at an early afternoon rally to launch the strike in Chater Garden, a public square in the central business district.
Antony Yiu, an entrepreneur in advertising and one of the organizers, said they want other business sectors to join them.
“The government seems to be still ignoring the sound of the majority of the people,” he said. The advertising industry wants “to take the first step to encourage other businesses to participate in the strike to give more pressure.”
More than 10,000 people marched on Sunday to try to pressure the government to address the demands after pro-democracy candidates won a landslide victory in district council elections one week earlier.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she will accelerate dialogue but has not offered any concessions since the elections.
The protests are blamed for driving the economy into recession. Tourism, airline and retail sectors have been hit particularly hard.
0 Police say their use of tear gas, rubber bullets and other force is a necessary response to escalating violence by the protesters
↑ Hua Chunying says legislation interferes with internal affairs