China is imposing restrictions on travel to Hong Kong by some US officials and others in retaliation for similar measures imposed on Chinese individuals by Washington, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
US diplomatic passport holders visiting Hong Kong and nearby Macao will temporarily no longer receive visa-free entry privileges, spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
US administration officials, congressional staffers, employees of non-governmental organisations and their immediate family members will face “reciprocal sanctions,” Hua said.
She was apparently referring to US sanctions that bar certain Chinese and Hong Kong officials from travelling to the US or having dealings with the US financial system over their roles in imposing a sweeping National Security Law passed this summer that ushered in a crackdown on free speech and opposition political activity in Hong Kong.
Hua said the move was taken “given that the US side is using the Hong Kong issue to seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s core interests.”
Those sanctioned “have performed egregiously and are primarily responsible on the Hong Kong issue,“ she said at a daily briefing.
“China once again urges the US side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and not go further down the wrong and dangerous path,” Hua said.
Japan says it will abide by US sanctions, freeze Carrie Lam’s accounts
The Japanese government has confirmed that domestic banks with operations in the United States are required to adhere to sanctions imposed by Washington, meaning they are not permitted to carry out transactions on behalf of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
The government confirmed its understanding of the requirement on Japanese banks in response to a written question from Jin Matsubara, a member of parliament from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and a former chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“The government asks Japanese financial groups that have offices overseas to consider the fact that laws and regulations on sanctions in those countries may be stricter than those of Japan,” the government said in a statement issued after the cabinet meeting.
Matsubara has been a vocal supporter of Hong Kong’s independence and believes that confirmation from the Japanese government that financial institutions are required to freeze any of Lam’s bank accounts could have other consequences.
“My understanding is that the Japanese government has instructed Japanese banking groups with operations in the US not to deal with those designated for sanctions by the US, even outside the US jurisdiction,” Matsubara told This Week in Asia.