China Bans U.S. Military From Hong Kong

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China Bans U.S. Military From Hong Kong

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, the country will now ban U.S. warships and military aircraft from visiting Hong Kong. This new policy comes after the White House recently adopted the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, legislation that supports the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. 

The act, signed Nov. 27 by President Donald Trump, will impose sanctions against Chinese officials who are found to have violated human rights against any individual in Hong Kong. The new law will also require the U.S. to assess annually if Hong Kong’s autonomy is being adequately maintained by Beijing to determine whether it will continue to hold special trading status with the U.S. Changes to its status could dramatically hurt Hong Kong’s economy. 

In a personal statement, President Trump said he signed the bills “out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong.” He urged the two parties to reach a common ground after months of violent protests. 

“The bills are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all,” he stated. 

The signing of the bill was well-received by Hong Kong activists, who had long called for Congress to endorse and support their movement. Thousands took to the streets to celebrate, waving U.S. flags and singing “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

However, after President Trump signed the act, Chinese officials and media accused the U.S. of showing its “malicious and hegemonic nature” and “publicly supporting violent criminals.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said in an official statement: “China urges the U.S. to correct its mistakes and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs or interfering in China’s internal affairs by any word or act.” 

In a bold move, China announced a ban on U.S. military warships and aircraft from making stops in Hong Kong for its support of democracy in Hong Kong. In a regular press conference on Dec. 2, she explained, “In response to the unreasonable behavior of the U.S. side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for U.S. warships to go to Hong Kong for (rest and) recuperation as of today.”

Hua also announced that Beijing would impose new sanctions on several U.S.-based human rights organizations that have been monitoring and reporting the protests in Hong Kong; she claimed that the organizations are supporting “anti-China people” and are instigating protesters to “engage in extreme crimes.”

Photo courtesy of CBC.CA