China has taken retaliatory measures against a recent US legislation supporting the protests in Hong Kong.
Beijing says it has suspended the review of requests by American warships to visit the semi-autonomous region. Such naval visits are part of a rest-and-recreation tradition that dates back to the pre-1997 colonial era, which Beijing allowed to continue after return from British to Chinese rule.
It has also sanctioned five US-based NGOs, including National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, for supporting what it called improper performance regarding Hong Kong protests.
Beijing had warned it would retaliate against the US legislation on Hong Kong with countermeasures. It condemned the legislation as interference in its internal affairs, and pledged to defend its interests of sovereignty and security.
What’s going on in Hong Kong?
Earlier this week, China blasted the UN human rights chief after she called for an investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by police during Hong Kong protests.
China’s mission to the UN in Geneva has reacted harshly to a remark by the UN Rights Chief. It says Michelle Bachelet’s op-ed in a Chinese daily represents inappropriate interference in the country’s internal affairs and emboldens radical violence in Hong Kong.
That after the UN official urged Hong Kong’s authorities to conduct an investigation into alleged use of excessive force by police. However, the city’s Chief Secretary for Administration said a thorough investigation is underway to find out the real reason behind the social unrest and it will not be directed solely on the police or a specific group of people.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong witnessed yet another rival rallies, with pro-government protesters waving Chinese flags and singing national songs, while anti-government protesters paralyzing the city’s business district. A number of protesters also gathered outside the US consulate to thank President Donald Trump for approving legislation backing the city’s protest movement.
US legislation on Hong Kong
Last week, President Trump signed legislation that authorizes sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights abuses in Hong Kong, signaling support for protesters and escalating tensions with Beijing as the US president tries to negotiate a trade deal with Chinese leaders.
The legislation permits Washington to impose sanctions or even suspend Hong Kong's special trading status over alleged human rights violations.
The issue of human rights has remained a topic of hot debate since the beginning of the protests in June. Some experts believe that the issue has been used as an excuse to pressure China.
China has repeatedly condemned the Western governments, including the US and the former Hong Kong colonizer Britain, for their destabilizing efforts. Early in October, Beijing portrayed the protests as a foreign-backed color revolution, referring to historical revolutions in the former Soviet states.
People in Hong Kong first hit the streets over a now suspended extradition bill but continued their agitation to get other grievances heard. It is widely believed that any kind of foreign involvement in popular movements, like the passage of Hong Kong legislation in the US, will further complicate the situation and block the path to reach a peaceful and the lasting solution to the crisis in the Chinese-ruled semi-autonomous region.