USA hits Chinese officials with sanctions over Hong Kong

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As China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, all rights and obligations of the British side as prescribed in the Joint Declaration were completed.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday Washington was imposing visa restrictions on Chinese officials responsible for restricting freedoms in Hong Kong, but he did not name any of those targeted.

Leung argued the Chinese government has already released sufficient details of the national security law, including a broad description of the crimes it will cover - "secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign or external forces" - and changes to the judicial process, notably including judges appointed by Hong Kong's Beijing-controlled executive instead of the city's independent judiciary committee.

The sweeping bill, which would bypass Hong Kong's legislature, would mean that mainland China would implant its national security apparatus to operate in the semi-autonomous region for the first time.

"We don't want the last beacon of liberty on China's soil (to) fall into the tyranny and the hardline of President Xi Jinping", he said.

"The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns", he said.

He said China had stepped up efforts to undermine Hong Kong's autonomy by pressuring local authorities to arrest pro-democracy activists and disqualify pro-democracy electoral candidates.

Regarding prosecution of people engaged in illegal protests, the spokesman reiterated that Hong Kong has a well-established and fair criminal judicial system.

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But the Chinese embassy in Washington insisted in a statement that no one has any legal grounds or right to make irresponsible comments on Hong Kong affairs, citing the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Protesters against Beijing's security law in Hong Kong.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the embassy added: "We urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes, withdraw the decision and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs".

The draft is created to crack down on anti-government activities in Hong Kong.

Pompeo's action comes one day after the US Senate approved a bill that would lay out economic sanctions against Chinese officials and Hong Kong police as well as banks that do transactions with them.

The announcement is the latest administration move against Beijing as tensions between the two capitals have steadily increased over a slew of issues, including but not limited to trade, the telecom giant Huawei's 5G technology, media freedoms and designations, the South China Sea, the coronavirus and the question of Hong Kong's autonomy.

CNN has reported that with Trump's re-election prospects uncertain and the economy struggling as the November vote nears, advisers close to Trump, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, believe the President should take a harder line with China.

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