BEIJING (Agencies): China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday (Dec 2) that it has suspended the review of requests by United States military ships and aircraft to visit Hong Kong, in response to legislation passed by US lawmakers in support of protesters in the China-ruled territory.
“In response to the unreasonable behaviour of the US side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for US warships to go to Hong Kong for recuperation as of today, ” foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
The Chinese government also sanctioned US-headquartered, non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch for supporting extremist, violent activities in Hong Kong, Hua added. The sanctions will also apply to other NGOs including the National Endowment for Democracy as well as Freedom House.
Last week, US President Donald Trump signed two Bills that back protesters in Hong Kong and threaten China with possible sanctions on human rights.
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which the Senate and House passed, puts the special treatment that Hong Kong enjoys under US law under tighter scrutiny linked to the extent of Hong Kong's autonomy from Beijing.
A second Bill, also approved by both chambers, banned the export of crowd-control munitions, including tear gas, rubber bullets, stun guns and tasers, to the Hong Kong police force.
Following Trump's signing into law the two Bills, China said it would take "firm counter measures" if the United States continues to interfere in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has been mired in mass anti-government protests for six months. They started with opposition to a now-withdrawn extradition Bill that would send suspects to mainland China which later evolved into demands for greater autonomy from China as well as an independent inquiry into police use of force during protests. - Agencies