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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

China suspends US warship visit to Hong Kong, sanctions American NGOs

The escalation of the China-US diplomatic tussle comes in the backdrop of the two largest economies in the world trying to reach a “phase 1” deal to resolve the ongoing trade war.

world Updated: Dec 02, 2019 21:16 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China has repeatedly blamed the United States and other western countries for fueling the protests have rocked the financial hub of Hong Kong since June.
China has repeatedly blamed the United States and other western countries for fueling the protests have rocked the financial hub of Hong Kong since June. (REUTERS)
         

China on Monday suspended US warships and military aircraft visits to Hong Kong and sanctioned American NGOs including Human Rights Watch in retaliation against Washington passing two bills supporting pro-democracy protests in the city last week.

The escalation of the China-US diplomatic tussle comes in the backdrop of the two largest economies in the world trying to reach a “phase 1” deal to resolve the ongoing trade war.

China did not hit back with new tariffs on US goods as part of its retaliatory measures against the two bills.

Beijing has repeatedly blamed Washington and other western countries for fueling the protests have rocked the financial hub of Hong Kong since June.

The protests began over a controversial extradition bill but evolved into a broader demand for more democratic reforms.

“China has suspended the approval of the request by US aircraft and warships to visit Hong Kong in response to the latest Hong Kong-related bill passed by the US lawmakers,” official media quoted the Chinese foreign ministry as saying.

“China also started sanctions on US-headquartered non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including Human Rights Watch, National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute, and International Republican Institute for supporting extremist, violent activities in Hong Kong,” ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at the routine press conference in Beijing.

“China urged the US side to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” Hua said, adding: “China will take necessary actions in accordance with the situation to safeguard the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong, as well as national sovereignty, security and development interests,” Hua said”.

Hua added that there was sufficient evidence to show that some “…organisations have supported anti-China disrupters in Hong Kong and instigated them to commit violence and crimes and secessionist activities.”

“They should take the major responsibility for the current unrest in Hong Kong and should be sanctioned as a price for what they did,” Hua said

Last week, US President Donald Trump signed two bills that backed 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.

“The second Bill banned the export of crowd-control munitions, including tear gas, rubber bullets, stun guns and tasers, to the Hong Kong police force,” Reuters reported.