US slaps visa restrictions on Chinese officials over HK security bill

US slaps visa restrictions on Chinese officials over HK security bill
Washington: The United States has announced to impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials over their alleged involvement in undermining freedoms in Hong Kong.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not reveal the names of the officials but revealed that current and former members of the Communist Party will face restrictions.

China has opposed the “US side’s wrongful decisions”.

Pompeo revealed that the decision has been taken as President Donald Trump had promised to punish Beijing after it proposed a new security law for Hong Kong. The US believes that the new law would undermine the autonomy of the region.

The US decision comes days ahead the China’s parliament meeting where the proposed security bill will be discussed.

The new security law says any attempt to undermine authority of Beijing in Hong Kong will be considered as crime.

On May 28, the bill was sent to China’s leadership for further approval after it was backed by National People's Congress.

The decision also sparked protests in the administrative region against the security law.

On the other hand Chinese Embassy in the US has issued a statement saying, “Hong Kong is part of China. Hong Kong affairs are China's domestic affairs that allow no external interference”.

It further clarified that legislating on national security is a power and obligation of the central government, and also an international practice.

“The Hong Kong national security legislation targets a very narrow category of acts that seriously jeopardize national security,” read the official statement.

It will improve Hong Kong's legal system, bring more stability to Hong Kong, and contribute to the practice of "One Country, Two Systems" and Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.

The legal basis for the Chinese government to govern Hong Kong is China's Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

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.

No one has any legal grounds or right to make irresponsible comments on Hong Kong affairs citing the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

“We urge the US side to immediately correct its mistakes, withdraw the decisions and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs. The Chinese side will continue to take strong measures to uphold national sovereignty, security and development interests.”