China to suspend US Navy visits to HK over new law

This photo taken on Aug 20, 2014, shows US Navy personnel on board the USS Makin Island looking towards the ICC building during a port-of-call visit to Hong Kong.
This photo taken on Aug 20, 2014, shows US Navy personnel on board the USS Makin Island looking towards the ICC building during a port-of-call visit to Hong Kong.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG • China said yesterday it will suspend US Navy visits to Hong Kong and sanction several American pro-democracy organisations in retaliation for the signing into law of legislation supporting human rights in the semi-autonomous territory.

While the nature of the sanctions remained unclear, the move appeared to back up Chinese threats that the US would bear the costs of the decision.

The steps are "in response to the US' unreasonable behaviour", foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said, adding that the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act "seriously interfered" in China's internal affairs.

"China urges the United States to correct its mistakes and stop any words and deeds that interfere in Hong Kong and China's internal affairs," she said.

The law, signed last Wednesday by US President Donald Trump, mandates sanctions on officials who carry out human rights abuses and requires an annual review of the favourable trade status that Washington grants Hong Kong.

Along with suspending visits by US military ships and aircraft, Ms Hua said China would sanction organisations, including the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute, Freedom House and others, that had "performed badly" in the Hong Kong unrest.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2019, with the headline 'China to suspend US Navy visits to HK over new law'. Print Edition | Subscribe