China announces reciprocal sanctions on US officials over HK security law
Beijing, Dec 8 (efe-epa)- China announced Tuesday that it will retaliate vigorously and decisively against the United States for imposing sanctions on 14 members of the National People’s Congress over the new security law in Hong Kong.
According to Washington, these 14 Chinese lawmakers were involved in the dismissal of four opposition parliamentarians in the former British colony.
“The latest US sanctions on 14 Chinese officials have exposed its sinister intention to interfere in China’s internal affairs, destabilize Hong Kong, and hinder China’s stability and development,” chief spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, said in a statement.
Hua urged the United States to back down and announced that China will take “resolute and powerful countermeasures,” but did not give further details.
The US State Department on Monday announced sanctions on 14 high-ranking members of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, a body that framed the controversial national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in June.
These sanctions include freezing all the assets these officials may have in the US and banning them from conducting financial transactions with any US citizen, which in theory makes it difficult for them to access the dollar-based international financial system.
Moreover, they and their families will not be able to travel to the US, which will restrict them from obtaining visas.
According to Hua, it is “hypocritical for some US politicians to show excessive concern over Hong Kong issues,” at a time when the North American country is suffering from “worsening Covid-19 situation.”
On Nov. 11, four Hong Kong opposition lawmakers were dismissed after the NPC standing committee adopted a resolution allowing the government of former British colony to strip them of their posts if they felt they supported the independence of Hong Kong or foreign intervention in its affairs.
Soon after, the remaining 15 opposition lawmakers also stepped down.
The national security law, which has been rejected by the US and much of the international community, in theory aimed to defuse the biggest recent crisis in the autonomous city following a wave of demonstrations in 2019 that, on numerous occasions, ended in violent clashes between the police and radical protesters.
This contentious law provides for sentences of up to life imprisonment for cases such as secession or collusion with foreign forces.
However, since then there have been numerous police raids and arrests of activists, especially given that many of them have been opting to go into exile.
The US sanctions come at a time when its outgoing president, Donald Trump, has been trying to maintain pressure on China in the final weeks of his term, before Democrat Joe Biden takes over on Jan. 20. EFE-EPA