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US To Impose Fresh Visa Curbs On Hong Kong Officials Over Rights Crackdown

The announcement comes after US’ annual assessment of Hong Kong’s autonomy (Representational)


The US introduced on Friday that it was “taking steps” to place contemporary visa curbs on Hong Kong officers chargeable for cracking down on rights within the Chinese language metropolis, days after a brand new nationwide safety legislation got here into pressure.

In a press release, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that over the previous yr, Beijing has “continued to take actions towards Hong Kong’s promised excessive diploma of autonomy, democratic establishments, and rights and freedoms.”

This crackdown, he stated, consists of the current passage of “Article 23,” a nationwide safety legislation focusing on treason, revolt, espionage, and theft of state secrets and techniques, amongst different crimes.

In response to “intensifying repression” and restrictions on “civil society, media, and dissenting voices,” the State Division “is taking steps to impose new visa restrictions on a number of Hong Kong officers,” the assertion added.

Blinken didn’t elaborate on the visa measures to be taken, nor the officers to be focused.

His announcement comes after Washington’s annual assessment of Hong Kong’s autonomy, a standing promised by Beijing when Britain handed over the town in 1997.

“This yr, I’ve once more licensed that Hong Kong doesn’t warrant remedy beneath U.S. legal guidelines in the identical method because the legal guidelines have been utilized to Hong Kong earlier than July 1, 1997,” Blinken stated.

Washington has beforehand imposed visa restrictions and sanctions on Hong Kong officers it accuses of eroding the rights and freedoms that differentiate the town from the remainder of China.

In 2020, the US additionally revoked the monetary hub’s particular commerce standing in response to the quashing of 2019’s massive, and at occasions violent, pro-democracy protests.

China’s overseas ministry consultant in Hong Kong “strongly condemned” Washington’s newest transfer as smearing the brand new safety legislation and interfering in China’s inside affairs.

The annual assessment of Hong Kong’s autonomy was “a farce that no one was shopping for… and needs to be despatched to historical past’s trash heap,” stated a spokesperson for the Workplace of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Overseas Affairs.

In 2020, Beijing imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong to quell the protests.

Article 23, which grew to become efficient final week, is an extra, homegrown nationwide safety legislation that officers stated was wanted to plug safety loopholes.

Individually on Friday, the US government-funded information service Radio Free Asia stated that it had closed its Hong Kong workplace after the enactment of the brand new legislation, citing considerations for the security of its workers.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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