Trump administration imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials

“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions for current and former CCP officials believed to be responsible or complicit in undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, as guaranteed in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, or undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. Families of such people may also be subject to these restrictions, “Pompeo said.

Pompeo did not name Chinese officials, and CNN has contacted the State Department for more details.

The announcement is the latest move by the administration against Beijing, as tensions between the two capitals have steadily increased due to a number of problems, including, but not limited to, trade, telecommunications giant Huawei 5G technology, freedoms. of media and designations, the South China Sea, the coronavirus and the issue of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

President Donald Trump announced punitive measures against China in late May, including measures to protect US investors from Chinese financial practices, and accused Beijing of “illegally claiming territory in the Pacific Ocean,” threatening freedom of navigation and conducting “espionage to steal our trade secrets”. , of which there are many. “

CNN has reported that with Trump’s reelection prospects uncertain and the economy struggling as the November vote approaches, advisers close to Trump, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, believe the president should take a tougher line with China. . According to three people familiar with his thinking, Kushner believes that one way to energize the president’s political base is to criticize China for its failure to stop the spread of Covid-19 from the start and to the president, after initially taking a conciliatory tone towards Beijing’s response. For the outbreak, he has recently started using an ethnic insult to refer to the virus.

“Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and full implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, as well as respect for human rights, are of fundamental importance. The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns,” he said. Pompeo.

Visa restrictions are not as harsh as economic sanctions, but are designed to send a message to China. In particular, they could affect the travel of the children of Chinese officials attending universities in the United States.

Last month, the Trump administration declared that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China due to Beijing’s introduction of a draconian national security law for Hong Kong that threatens fundamental political freedoms and civil liberties in semi-autonomous territory.
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The move has been denounced internationally, with opponents warning it could reduce many of the city’s legal guarantees promised when it was handed over to the Chinese by the British government in 1997. In mainland China, powerful national security laws have been used to attack to professionals. -democracy activists, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists.

Trump said Chinese Communist Party officials would face consequences last month.

“The United States will also take the necessary measures to sanction officials of the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong directly or indirectly involved in the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and, only if you look at it, suffocating, absolutely suffocating the freedom of Hong Kong. Our actions will be strong. Our actions will be strong. It will be significant, “Trump told reporters on May 30.

Pompeo met with Chinese officials in Hawaii last week.

Senior State Department official David Stilwell said Chinese officials “were not forthcoming” in the discussions, but did not elaborate or provide many specific details about the outcome of the meeting.

CNN’s Vivian Salama contributed to this report.