Trump administration imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials

Clay Curtis
June 29, 2020

China's National Congress Standing Committee already approved the draft version of legislation that would criminalize succession, subversion of state power, local terrorist activities, and collaborating with foreign or external foreign forces to endanger national security.

China will impose visa restrictions on certain United States individuals in response to Washington's move last week to place similar limits on Chinese officials over Hong Kong.

Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, joins group discussions to deliberate a draft law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) during the 20th session of the NPC Standing Committee in Beijing, capital of China, June 28, 2020.

China's top legislators are now discussing a planned national security law for Hong Kong.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Friday that he was halting travel to the current and former officials from China's ruling Communist Party who are believed to be "responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy".

Hong Kong was upended by seven straight months of protests previous year, initially sparked by an eventually abandoned plan to allow extraditions to the mainland. "The act and the so-called "sanctions" are totally unacceptable and will only harm the relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the U.S.", a government spokesman said.

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In a statement on Twitter , assistant chief constable Steve Johnson said: "The individual who was shot by armed police has died". Police have not said what has happened other than that the "situation is contained" and "there is no danger to the public".

But the Chinese embassy in Washington insisted in a statement that no one has any legal grounds or right to make irresponsible comments on Hong Kong affairs, citing the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Hong Kong police have arrested at least 53 people after scuffles erupted during a relatively peaceful protest against planned national security legislation to be implemented by the Chinese Government. It urged the US government to "correct its mistakes" and stop "interfering in China's domestic affairs".

The proposed national security law has raised concerns among Hong Kong democracy activists and some foreign governments that Beijing is further eroding the extensive autonomy promised when Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.

"Visa restrictions are not almost enough to deter China from continuing its crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong", Senator Van Hollen said.

In one element of pressure that could have far-reaching consequences, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act would also punish banks that do "significant transactions" with identified violators.

"China has said it wants to improve" the lives of those who live in Hong Kong, but reality, that means stripping the people of Hong Kong of the basic rights and liberties guaranteed to them under the 1984 treaty, Hawley said. "We, however, urge the USA to act responsibly by refraining from taking measures that may potentially affect the normal operations of financial institutions and the vast number of customers they serve", the spokesman said.

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