Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the United States would apply visa restrictions to hard-line Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for efforts to restrict freedoms in Hong Kong.
President @realDonaldTrump promised to punish CCP officials responsible for disemboweling Hong Kong’s freedoms. Today, we are taking steps to do just that: we have announced visa restrictions for CCP officials responsible for undermining autonomy and human rights in Hong Kong, ”Pompeo tweeted.
The announcement came in response to China’s steps to impose new security legislation in Hong Kong, prompting President Trump last month to begin a process to remove the special economic treatment that has allowed the territory to remain a global financial center.
It also came at a time of escalating US rhetoric against China and when polls have shown that Americans are increasingly bitter towards Beijing, especially because of the coronavirus, which started in that country.
Pompeo said the Communist Party of China had stepped up efforts to undermine the autonomy of the former British colony through national security legislation and pressing local authorities to arrest pro-democracy activists and disqualify pro-democracy electoral candidates.
Even those accused of singing the continent’s national anthem in an unflattering way could end up behind bars.
China’s actions came after scandalous pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong paralyzed parts of the semi-autonomous financial center last November.
Pompeo called on China to honor its commitment to allow Hong Kong “a high degree of autonomy” and added: “The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns.”
Earlier this week, FBI Director Christopher Wray called China the biggest threat to the United States.