China’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday it is restricting travel by some U.S. officials to Hong Kong after the U.S. placed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 Chinese officials.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a Beijing news conference that
U.S. diplomatic passport holders visiting Hong Kong and neighboring Macao will temporarily have their visa-free entry privileges revoked.
Hua also said China will impose “reciprocal sanctions” on some U.S. officials, including lawmakers and personnel at non-governmental groups, in response to their “vile” behavior in Hong Kong.
Hua did not disclose the names of those China has targeted or say when the sanctions would begin.
The U.S. imposed sanctions against the Chinese officials Monday in response to their role in the passage earlier this year of a national security law for Hong Kong and China’s disqualification last month of opposition lawmakers who were elected in Hong Kong.
Adoption of the security law led to a harsh crackdown on free speech and opposition political activity in Hong Kong.
Hua said China’s latest actions were taken “given that the U.S. side is using the Hong Kong issue to seriously interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's core interests.”
The United States did not immediately respond to China’s travel restrictions against U.S. officials.
China had long warned it would retaliate against the U.S. sanctions and other moves viewed as antagonistic.