China is barring U.S. Navy port calls and American military aircraft from visiting Hong Kong, in retaliation for Washington’s recent adoption of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act — legislation that supports pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
“China urges the U.S. to correct its mistake and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs or interfering in China’s other internal affairs by any word and act,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, according to the state-run media outlet Xinhua.
From Beijing, Amy Cheng reports for NPR’s Newscast unit:
“Beijing will also sanction several organizations headquartered in the United States, including the National Endowment for Democracy and Human Rights Watch, saying these entities ‘encouraged protesters to take up radical and violent criminal actions.’ It is unclear what Beijing’s sanctions will entail.”
When President Trump signed the Hong Kong legislation last week, he said he was doing so “out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.” He also urged an amicable peace between Beijing and the former British colony, where protesters have repeatedly launched mass protests this year to call for true universal democracy and other demands.
After Trump signed the act, China’s foreign ministry had accused the U.S. of showing its “malicious and hegemonic nature.” But U.S. adoption of the act also triggered a celebration by Hong Kong activists, who had long called for Congress to endorse their cause.
The U.S. measure includes provisions for sanctions against Chinese officials who are found to have violated human rights; it also links Hong Kong’s special trade status to an annual evaluation of condition there.
Trump signed the act days after voters in Hong Kong delivered a sharp rebuke to Beijing, turning out in droves to give pro-democracy politicians a landslide victory and place them in control of 17 of the 18 district councils.