China said it would impose sanctions on the United States after US President Donald Trump signed legislation to punish Beijing for “oppressive acts” in Hong Kong and an executive order ending all preferential treatment for the city.
“The US law…maliciously denigrates Hong Kong’s national security legislation, threatens to impose sanctions on China, and seriously violates international law and basic rules of international relations. It is gross interference in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a scathing rebuke to Trump’s announcement earlier on Tuesday that he had signed the so-called “Hong Kong Autonomy Act” into law.
Apart from the Act, which envisions sanctions against politicians who the US has accused of “extinguishing” the former British colony’s freedom with a new national security law, Trump also signed an executive order stripping Hong Kong of its special trading status.
Both the Autonomy Act – a bill that blazed through Congress with bipartisan support – and the executive order seek to penalize Beijing for alleged rights abuses in Hong Kong.
Beijing, which insists that the new security law was needed to “protect national sovereignty,” has denounced the US rhetoric and punitive measures as an attempt to “obstruct” the implementation of the law, insisting the US “will never succeed” in pursuit of that goal.
The ministry confirmed that China would not sit idly by and warned it would respond in kind.
Published on Tuesday evening, Trump’s order will “suspend or eliminate different and preferential treatment for Hong Kong,” including in the realms of national security, foreign policy, immigration and economics, rescinding a special arrangement established with the city under the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act. The previous law allowed Washington to treat Hong Kong as a separate entity from Mainland China, especially in matters of trade.