Beijing has responded in a tit-for-tat diplomatic row with Washington over a national security law aimed at cracking down on US-backed opposition groups across the special administrative region, with fresh measures passed on Monday, Chinese state media reported.
Beijing plans to sanction four people due to their “egregious” behaviour of meddling in the domestic affairs of Hong Kong, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday as cited by the Global Times.
Officials facing fresh sanctions include John Knaus, senior director for Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Manpreet Singh Anad, Asia-Pacific regional director at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), among others.
All four people will not be allowed to enter China as well as Hong Kong and Macao, according to the report.
The NED has openly backed Hong Kong opposition groups such as the Solidarity Center and Hong Kong Justice Center, and Demosisto, who hosts opposition figure Joshua Wong, among others, and has also spent millions on numerous projects in the European Union, including opposition support for protestors in Belarus, according to analysts.
Further backing has been given to opposition backing in Venezuela and Bolivia amid major political coups in recent years.
The news comes after China slapped sanctions on 11 US lawmakers and heads of non-governmental organisations such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth, NED president Carl Gershman, International Republican Institute president Daniel Twining, NDI president Derek Mitchell, among others, the report added.
Beijing has accused the NGOs of meddling in Hong Kong affairs and being involved in riots over the last year, including meetings with “Gang of Four” rioters Anson Chan Fang On-Sang, it read.
US-China Diplomatic Row Over Hong Kong Security Law
The news comes after the Trump administration slapped sanctions on a further four Chinese officials in Hong Kong on 12 November.
Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office, Edwina Lau, Hong Kong deputy commissioner of police and two others from Hong Kong’s new national security office were targeted in the sanctions.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo banned all travel and US-based assets of the officials, citing their role in the new national security law which entered force in August.
But chief secretary of the special administrative region, Matthew Cheung, slammed the sanctions as “absolutely unacceptable” and “barbaric” interference in China’s domestic affairs.
The developments comes amid skyrocketing tensions between London, Washington and Beijing over the law, which the former two allege violates the 1997 UK-China ‘one country, two systems’ agreement.
Beijing has repeatedly said it has the right to defend its territory from foreign meddling, with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam stating in a recent event that the law had boosted national security efforts in the region.