US unloads punitive steps on China over Hong Kong law

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COURTESY BY: https://www.hindustantimes.com/

The US has hit China with punitive measures over the Hong Kong security law and slapped visa curbs on those working with Beijing-linked firms such as Huawei.

US President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill that authorises sanctions on individuals responsible for the Hong Kong law. He also signed an executive order that took away the preferential trade status of Hong Kong, putting it on par with the mainland.

“Their freedom has been taken away. Their rights have been taken away. And with it, goes Hong Kong, in my opinion, because it will no longer be able to compete with free markets,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China: no special privileges, no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies,” he said.

China vowed it will take strong countermeasures and sanction US officials and entities over the Hong Kong law. It urged the US to “correct its wrongdoings” and to stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs.

On Wednesday, the US state department announced visa restrictions on employees of Chinese tech firms that “provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights abuses globally”.

Companies impacted include Huawei, which it described as an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) surveillance state “that censors political dissidents and enables mass internment camps in Xinjiang and the indentured servitude of its population shipped all over China”. Certain Huawei employees provide material support to the CCP regime that commits human rights abuses, it said.

The New York Times said it will transfer some of its staff out of Hong Kong because of uncertainties about practising journalism under the new security law. Its digital team of journalists will be moved to Seoul over the next year, the paper said.

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