Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 4-China bars U.S. military ships, aircraft from Hong Kong, sanctions U.S.-based NGOs

Reuters | Beijing | Updated: 03-12-2019 07:12 IST | Created: 03-12-2019 07:09 IST
UPDATE 4-China bars U.S. military ships, aircraft from Hong Kong, sanctions U.S.-based NGOs
Image Credit: Twitter (@pid_gov)

China on Monday banned U.S. military ships and aircraft from visiting Hong Kong and slapped sanctions on several U.S. non-government organisations for allegedly encouraging anti-government protesters in the city to commit violent acts.

The measures were a response to U.S. legislation passed last week supporting the protests which have rocked the Asian financial hub for six months. It said it had suspended taking requests for U.S. military visits indefinitely, and warned of further action to come. "We urge the U.S. to correct the mistakes and stop interfering in our internal affairs. China will take further steps if necessary to uphold Hong Kong's stability and prosperity and China's sovereignty," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news briefing in Beijing.

China last week promised it would issue "firm counter measures" after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which supports anti-government protesters in Hong Kong and threatens China with sanctions for human rights abuses. There are fears that the dispute over Hong Kong could impact efforts by Beijing and Washington to reach a preliminary deal to de-escalate a prolonged trade war between the world's two largest economies.

In more normal times, several U.S. naval ships visit Hong Kong annually, a rest-and-recreation tradition that dates back to the pre-1997 colonial era and one that Beijing allowed to continue after the handover from British to Chinese rule. "We have a long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong, and we expect that to continue," said a U.S. State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"False accusations of foreign interference" against the U.S. NGOs "are intended to distract from the legitimate concerns of Hongkongers," the official said. Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said port visits to Hong Kong and elsewhere around the world served as a useful programme to "provide liberty for our sailors and expand people-to-people ties with our hosts".

"With regard to the ongoing protests, we condemn the unjustified use of force and urge all sides to refrain from violence and engage in constructive dialogue," he said in a statement. A U.S. defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said China's move would not have an impact on U.S. military operations.

Visits have at times been refused amid broader tensions and two U.S. ships were denied access in August. The USS Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Japan-based Seventh Fleet, stopped in Hong Kong in April – the last ship to visit before mass protests broke out in June.

Foreign NGOs are already heavily restricted in China, and have previously received sharp rebukes for reporting on rights issues in the country, including the mass detention of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang. The U.S.-headquartered NGOs targeted by Beijing include the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House.

"They shoulder some responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong and they should be sanctioned and pay the price," Hua said.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Turbulence surrounding tobacco control in Ghana

... ...

Refugee compassion and response: Ideas to mitigate disasters now and in their future

Their homeland becomes a forbidden territory for them and more likely than not, their journey to foreign soil is no less traumatizing, not to say deadly. It is crucial to help refugees live a life of dignity and purpose....

Inadequate water infrastructure causes a tidal wave of coronavirus in rural Alaska

... ...

Videos

Latest News

New Africa alliance aims to tackle deadly COVID ‘infodemic’

The Africa Infodemic Response Alliance AIRA, brings together 13 international and regional organizations, together with fact-checking groups which have expertise in data and behavioural science, epidemiology, research, digital health and ...

Aid coming to north Ethiopia, refugees recount war suffering

A senior European Union official said on Thursday December 3 that providing swift humanitarian relief in Ethiopia was challenging because aid workers still did not have unimpeded access.Humanitarian groups are therefore unable to assess th...

Indian government to meet protesting farmers again on Saturday as talks continue

The fourth round of talks between the Indian government and 40 farmers unions over divisive farm laws failed to make headway on Thursday December 3 but a cabinet minister said they would continue discussions on Saturday December 5.In Indias...

Yemen: Unchecked violations ‘may amount to war crimes’, Security Council hears

Civilians in Yemen are not starving, they are being starved by the parties to the conflict, said Kamel Jendoubi, the Chairperson of the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, in the closed session. The conflict i...

Give Feedback