US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Washington is imposing visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for undermining the sovereignty of the Hong Kong people.
Pompeo says the sanctions will affect both “current and former” members of the party.
He said the move follows President Trump’s promise that China should be punished for introducing security laws restricting Hong Kong’s sovereignty.
China says the US decision is a “mistake” that will have to be reconsidered.
The move comes days after China’s parliamentary session was held.
The National People’s Congress Standing Committee will discuss the new law in a meeting starting next Sunday.
China will set up offices of its security agencies in Hong Kong
A new wave of anti-China protests has erupted in Hong Kong since the new law was introduced.
Mike Pompeo in his statement on Friday did not name any Chinese officials affected by the US visa ban, but the development came after a recent vote in the US upper house in which members imposed sanctions on them. It also called for the imposition of sanctions on Hong Kong’s sovereignty and on banks that do business with them.
Reacting to the move, the Chinese embassy in Washington said it “opposes this wrong decision by the United States.”
A statement from the embassy said, “We urge the United States to correct its mistakes, reverse this decision and refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
Last month, President Trump said he would end trade and tourism preferences with Hong Kong in response to China’s plans.
The US president had said that Beijing was “going against its promise and adopting a one-country policy rather than a two-state system.”
“This is nothing short of a tragedy for Hong Kong. China has taken away Hong Kong’s sovereignty,”
The Chinese parliament has already backed a resolution on the new law, which has now gone to the country’s senior leaders.
Hong Kong also had to pass a security law, but despite its unpopularity, it could not be passed.
China is now intervening to ensure that the city has a constitutional framework that addresses threats to China’s sovereignty.
The following acts will be criminalized under this law:
1 . Separation from China
2. Ignoring the authority or power of the federal government
3. Foreign forces interfere in Hong Kong affairs
Experts say they fear the law will punish those who criticize Beijing, as in China.