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China suspends US Navy visits over bill supporting Hong Kong protests

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 favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong. The leg...

AP|
Dec 02, 2019, 11.40 PM IST
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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.
HONG KONG: China said on Monday it will suspend US military ship and aircraft visits to Hong Kong and sanction several American pro-democracy and human rights groups in retaliation for the signing into law of legislation supporting anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous territory. 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 favorable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong. The legislation was backed by US lawmakers who are sympathetic to the protesters and have criticised Hong Kong police for cracking down on the prodemocracy 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 gasoline 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 organisations including the National Endowment for Democracy, the National 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.

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