İrem UZUN -TDO- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday the United States was imposing visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials believed to be responsible for restricting freedoms in Hong Kong. "President Trump promised to punish the Chinese Communist Party officials who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong's freedoms. Today, we are taking action to do just that," Pompeo said. He said China had stepped up efforts to undermine Hong Kong's autonomy through the legislation and by pressuring local authorities to arrest pro-democracy activists and disqualify pro-democracy electoral candidates. "The United States will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns," he said.

The move coincides with an intensified U.S. rhetoric against China in the midst of Trump’s re-election campaign, in which opinion polls have shown voters increasingly embittered toward Beijing, especially over the coronavirus that began from China’s Wuhan.

“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,” Pompeo said in a statement. He added that family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.

Chinese officials expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with U.S. sanctions, warning that crossing “red lines” and meddling in what China considers its own internal affairs could put the trade deal at risk, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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