US restricts visas for Chinese officials suspected of rights abuses

By: AFP      Published: 11:14 PM, 21 Dec, 2020
US restricts visas for Chinese officials suspected of rights abuses

The US imposed additional restrictions Monday on visas for Chinese officials suspected of human rights abuses, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced, the latest such curbs amid high tensions with Beijing.

The new restrictions concern "Chinese officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, policies or actions aimed at repressing religious and spiritual practitioners, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, labor organizers, civil society organizers, and peaceful protestors," Pompeo said in a statement.

Family members of the officials could also be targeted, he said.

Washington has already increased visa restrictions against Chinese officials and students in recent months, often in a targeted manner, as part of its campaign against Beijing, which has become its main strategic adversary.

The State Department has canceled visas for more than 1,000 Chinese students and researchers suspected of espionage.

US entry has been banned for Chinese officials allegedly involved in the mass internment of the country's Muslim Uighur minority, or involved in the crackdown in Hong Kong.

The State Department has also drastically restricted US entry for members of the Chinese Communist Party.

The move "demonstrates the US government's resolve to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its increasing repression against the Chinese people," Pompeo said in the statement.

"China's authoritarian rulers impose draconian restrictions on the Chinese people's freedoms of expression, religion or belief, association, and the right to peaceful assembly. The United States has been clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses like these are not welcome in our country."