On Monday, China 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.
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.
“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.