BEIJING: June 29, China has decided to impose visa restrictions against American individuals who have behaved egregiously on matters concerning Hong Kong.
The country is moving forward on a security law that would punish subversion and other offenses against the state in Hong Kong, which saw massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests last year.
On Friday, US President Donald Trump’s administration said it was restricting US visas for a number of unspecified Chinese officials for infringing on the autonomy of the Asian financial hub.
In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the US “scheme to obstruct the passage of the Hong Kong national security law will never prevail”. China’s top lawmaking committee is expected to adopt the law during sessions that end on Tuesday.
The legislation was approved by Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament little more than six weeks after it was unveiled, sending shock waves through semi-autonomous Hong Kong and beyond.
While outlawing acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces, the legislation will allow China’s security agencies to set up shop publicly in the city for the first time.
The United States, Britain, the European Union and the United Nations rights watchdog have all voiced fears the law could be used to stifle criticism of Beijing, which uses similar laws on the authoritarian mainland to crush dissent.
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said Washington would curb visas for unspecified current and former officials of the Chinese Communist Party “who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms”.
The officials targeted were “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy”, which Beijing promised before regaining control of the territory in 1997 from Britain, Pompeo said.
Zhao warned on Monday that the US “should not review, advance or implement relevant negative bills concerning Hong Kong, even less impose so-called sanctions on China, otherwise China will firmly take strong countermeasures”.