Home News US to Impose New Visa Restrictions on Hong Kong Officials Over Rights Crackdown

US to Impose New Visa Restrictions on Hong Kong Officials Over Rights Crackdown

US Hong Kong Officials
Antony Blinken

The United States on Friday announced its intention to impose fresh visa restrictions on several officials from Hong Kong in response to the rising crackdown on rights and freedoms in the territory, which is under Chinese rule.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that over the past year, China has continuously eroded Hong Kong’s promised high level of autonomy, democratic institutions, and rights and freedoms, including with the recent enactment of a new national security law known as Article 23.

“In response, the Department of State is announcing that it is taking steps to impose new visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials responsible for the intensifying crackdown on rights and freedoms,” the statement read in part.

Although specific officials were not named in the statement, the United States has previously imposed visa restrictions and other sanctions on Hong Kong officials implicated in undermining freedoms. It has also warned that foreign financial institutions that conduct business with them would be subject to sanctions.

Under the US Hong Kong Policy Act, the State Department is mandated to report to Congress on the situation in Hong Kong annually.

This year, I have again certified that Hong Kong does not warrant treatment under US laws in the same manner as the laws were applied to Hong Kong before Jul 1, 1997. – Blinken

This year’s report catalogues the intensifying repression and ongoing crackdown by PRC (People’s Republic of China) and Hong Kong authorities on civil society, media, and dissenting voices, including through the issuance of bounties and arrest warrants for more than a dozen pro-democracy activists living outside Hong Kong. – Blinken

In response to Blinken’s statements and the report, the Commissioner’s Office of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong accused the US of confusing right and wrong and stigmatising Hong Kong’s national security law and electoral system.

However, Radio Free Asia, funded by the US, announced the closure of its Hong Kong bureau, citing concerns about staff safety following the implementation of the new national security law.

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