US ends arms exports, China restricts visas in Hong Kong row
The United States has been leading a global uproar over a national security law which Hong Kong activists say will destroy the city's freedoms.
"We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People's Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the CCP by any means necessary," he said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
The direct impact will be modest. The State Department last year approved $2.4 million in defense sales to Hong Kong, of which $1.4 million worth were actually sent, including firearms and ammunition for law enforcement, according to official figures.
The Commerce Department simultaneously said it was revoking its special status for Hong Kong.
It will now treat the financial hub the same as China for so-called dual-use exports that have both military and civilian applications -- and which are highly restricted when sought by Beijing.
"It gives us no pleasure to take this action, which is a direct consequence of Beijing's decision to violate its own commitments under the UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration," Pompeo said.
- Tit-for-tat visa curbs -
On Friday, the State Department said it was restricting visas for an unspecified number of Chinese officials seen as responsible for infringing on the autonomy of the Asian financial hub.
China's top lawmaking committee passed the law on Tuesday.
While outlawing acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces, the legislation will allow China's security agencies to set up shop publicly in the city for the first time.
Pompeo condemned the move Monday evening. "If China wants to regain the trust of Hong Kongers and the international community, it should honor the promises it made to the Hong Kong people," he said in a statement.
Britain, the European Union and the United Nations rights watchdog have all voiced fears the law could be used to stifle criticism of Beijing, which uses similar laws on the authoritarian mainland to crush dissent.
Last week, the US Senate unanimously approved a bill that would impose mandatory economic sanctions against Chinese officials, Hong Kong police -- and banks that work with them -- if they are identified as hurting the city's autonomous status.
Zhao, the foreign ministry spokesman, warned that the US "should not review, advance or implement relevant negative bills concerning Hong Kong, even less impose so-called sanctions on China, otherwise China will firmly take strong countermeasures."
Hong Kong was upended by seven straight months of protests last year, initially sparked by an eventually abandoned plan to allow extraditions to the mainland.
But they soon morphed into a popular revolt against Beijing's rule and widespread calls for democracy.
China passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday, a historic move that critics and many western governments fear will smother the finance hub's freedoms and hollow out its autonomy.
The legislation was unanimously approved by China's rubber-stamp parliament, little more than six weeks after it was first unveiled.
"It marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before," prominent democracy campaigner Joshua Wong tweeted. "With sweeping powers and ill-defined law, the city will turn into a #secretpolicestate."
The United States, Britain, the European Union and the United Nations rights watchdog have all voiced fears the law could be used to stifle criticism of Beijing, which wields similar laws on the authoritarian mainland to crush dissent.
The law bypassed Hong Kong's fractious legislature and the wording was kept secret from the city's 7.5 million inhabitants.
The opacity continued even after the law was passed, with silence from Beijing. Instead the news filtered out via pro-Beijing politicians and local media outlets in Hong Kong.
At her weekly press conference on Tuesday morning, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam -- a pro-Beijing appointee -- declined to comment on whether the law had been passed or what it contained.
"The fact that Hong Kong people will only come to know what's really in this new law after the fact is more than preposterous," Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker, told AFP.