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US threatens to impose new visa restrictions on Hong Kong officials


A supporter scuffles with police the West Kowloon Magistrates Courts building during the hearing of the 47 pro-democracy activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion under the national security law, in Hong Kong, China February 6, 2023. — Reuters
A supporter scuffles with police the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts building during the hearing of the 47 pro-democracy activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion under the national security law, in Hong Kong, China February 6, 2023. — Reuters 

The United States announced Friday it will impose new visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials over the crackdown on rights and freedoms in the territory.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has previously stated that China has been pursuing Hong Kong’s promised autonomy, democratic institutions, and rights, including with the recent enactment of a new national security law known as Article 23, Reuters reported.

“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,” Blinken said.

The statement did not specify which officials would be targeted.

In November, Hong Kong criticised a US bill imposing sanctions on 49 officials, judges, and prosecutors involved in national security cases, accusing the lawmakers of grand-standing and intimidation.

Officials named in that Hong Kong Sanctions Act included Secretary for Justice Paul Lam, Police chief Raymond Siu and judges Andrew Cheung, Andrew Chan, Johnny Chan, Alex Lee, Esther Toh and Amanda Woodcock.

The United States has imposed visa restrictions and other sanctions in the past on Hong Kong officials blamed for undermining freedoms and announced an end to the special economic treatment the territory long enjoyed under US law.

It has also warned that foreign financial institutions that conduct business with them would be subject to sanctions.



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