On Friday, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States will impose visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials that are the reason for the reduced freedoms in Hong Kong.
Pompeo said that the U.S. visa restrictions apply to current and former CCP officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, without naming any of the officials.
Tensions between the U.S. and China continue to rise as President Donald Trump responded to China’s plans last month saying that he was initiating a process to eliminate special economic treatment that has allowed Hong Kong to remain a global financial center.
According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, the meddling of the United States in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other matters could jeopardize Chinese purchases under a Phase 1 trade deal Trump agreed with China in January, spooking investors already worried about a surge in coronavirus cases.
“President Trump promised to punish the Chinese Communist Party officials who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms. Today, we are taking action to do just that,’’ said Pompeo, adding that China had stepped up efforts to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy by pressuring local authorities to arrest pro-democracy activists and disqualify pro-democracy electoral candidates.
‘’The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns,’’ said Pompeo.
Last week, he said that the White House will treat Hong Kong as a Chinese city rather than an autonomous one to the extent that China treated the territory as a Chinese city. He said Hong Kong elections due in September would show China’s intentions.
According to Reuters, China’s official Xinhua news agency said a Hong Kong government spokesman had called legislation approved by the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy totally unacceptable.