Trump administration imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/181207124406-20181207-us-china-flags-super-tease.jpg

“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on current and former CCP officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, as guaranteed in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, or undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo did not name the Chinese officials and CNN has reached out to the State Department for details.

The announcement is the latest administration move against Beijing as tensions between the two capitals have steadily increased over a slew of issues, including but not limited to trade, the telecom giant Huawei’s 5G technology, media freedoms and designations, the South China Sea, the coronavirus and the question of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

President Donald Trump announced punitive measures against China in late May, including steps to protect American investors from Chinese financial practices, and accused Beijing of “unlawfully claiming territory in the Pacific Ocean,” threatening freedom of navigation and conducting “espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many.”

CNN has reported that with Trump’s re-election prospects uncertain and the economy struggling as the November vote nears, advisers close to Trump, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, believe the President should take a harder line with China. According to three people familiar with his thinking, Kushner believes that one way to energize the President’s political base is by blasting China over its failure to stem the spread of Covid-19 early on and the President, after initially taking a conciliatory tone toward Beijing’s response to the outbreak, has recently begun using an ethnic slur to refer to the virus.

“Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the full implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, as well as respect for human rights, are of fundamental importance. The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns,” Pompeo said.

Visa restrictions are not as biting as economic sanctions but are designed to send a message to China. In particular they could impact the travel of the children of Chinese officials who attend Universities in the US.

Last month the Trump administration declared Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China due to Beijing’s unveiling of a draconian national security law for Hong Kong that threatens fundamental political freedoms and civil liberties in the semi-autonomous territory.
Trump officials try to enlist foreign allies in pressure campaign against China over coronavirus response

The move has been denounced internationally, with opponents warning it could curtail many of the legal safeguards promised to the city when it was handed from British to Chinese rule in 1997. In mainland China, far-reaching national security laws have been used to target pro-democracy campaigners, human rights activists, lawyers and journalists.

Trump said that Chinese Communist Party officials would face consequences last month.

“The United States will also take necessary steps to sanction PRC and Hong Kong officials directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy and — just if you take a look, smothering — absolutely smothering Hong Kong’s freedom. Our actions will be strong. Our actions will be meaningful,” Trump told reporters on May 30.

Pompeo met with Chinese officials in Hawaii last week.

A senior State Department official, David Stilwell, said the Chinese officials were “not forthcoming” in discussions, but did not to elaborate or provide many specific details about the outcome of the meeting.

CNN’s Vivian Salama contributed to this report.

Read more at CNN.com

Loading...