US imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong issue

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 08:49 AM(IST)

File photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The development comes ahead of a three-day meeting of China's parliament from Sunday expected to enact new national security legislation for Hong Kong that has alarmed foreign governments and democracy activists.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday Washington was imposing visa restrictions on several Chinese officials, accusing them of infringing on the autonomy of Hong Kong.

The development comes ahead of a three-day meeting of China's parliament from Sunday expected to enact new national security legislation for Hong Kong that has alarmed foreign governments and democracy activists.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would restrict visas for unspecified current and former officials of the Chinese Communist Party "who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong's freedoms."

Last month, President Donald Trump responded to China's plans by saying he was initiating a process to eliminate special economic treatment that has allowed Hong Kong to remain a global financial center since its handover by Britain in 1997.

The officials who were 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, Pompeo said.

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"The United States calls on China to honor its commitments and obligations in the Sino-British Joint Declaration," Pompeo said in a statement, calling for protections of "freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly."

Activists say the law would effectively undo the freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong, one of the world's premier financial hubs.

Pompeo's action comes one day after the US Senate approved a bill that would lay out economic sanctions against Chinese officials and Hong Kong police as well as banks that do transactions with them.

Supporters of the bill, which needs to be passed by the House of Representatives, say they want to impose real costs on Chinese officials rather than just issue condemnations.

(With inputs from agencies) 

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