During a press briefing, Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced the new sanctions in response to a question about Washington’s new visa restrictions.
The announcement comes as the top decision-making body of China’s parliament deliberates a draft national security law for Hong Kong that pro-democracy activists in the city fear will be used to eliminate dissent and tighten Beijing’s control, according to Reuters.
“The US is attempting to obstruct China’s legislation for safeguarding national security in the HK SAR (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) by imposing the so-called sanctions,” he told reporter, adding that however, it will never succeed.
“In response ... China has decided to impose visa restrictions on US individuals with egregious conduct on HK related issues.”
Last week, Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State said that the new visa restrictions by Washington apply to “current and former” officials of China’s ruling Communist Party “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.”
The US Senate also approved a bill last week that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy. It includes secondary sanctions on banks that do business with anyone backing any crackdown on the territory’s autonomy.
Zhao Lijian , the foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters that China has lodged a complaint with the US over the bill and warned that Beijing will respond with strong countermeasures in response to U.S. actions on Hong Kong.