In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted China’s ongoing violations of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and democratic institutions.

On Friday, the United States declared its plans to impose new visa restrictions on numerous Hong Kong officials in reaction to China’s continued crackdown on rights and freedoms in the region.

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, has released a statement highlighting China’s ongoing encroachments on Hong Kong’s promised autonomy, democratic systems, and basic freedoms throughout the preceding year. This encompasses the recent enactment of Article 23, a new national security law.

“In the preceding year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) persistently pursued measures that undermine Hong Kong’s pledged high level of autonomy, democratic structures, and individual liberties. Notably, recent legislative moves by Hong Kong authorities under Article 23 of the Basic Law have introduced sweeping and ambiguously worded clauses concerning ‘sedition,’ ‘state secrets,’ and engagements with Blinken emphasized the term “foreign entities” in an official communication.

The enforcement of these measures might suppress dissent within Hong Kong and extend beyond its borders as part of China’s ongoing strategy of transnational repression. the statement elaborated.

Blinken also stated that the Department of State is moving forward with implementing fresh visa restrictions on numerous Hong Kong officials accountable for the escalating suppression of rights and liberties, under the provisions of Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The statement lacked clarity on the specific officials to be affected by the upcoming restrictions. This declaration comes after a previous US bill in November, which proposed sanctions against 49 Hong Kong officials, including judges and prosecutors engaged in national security matters. Hong Kong officials criticized the bill, alleging that US legislators were engaging in grandstanding and seeking to intimidate the city.

The Hong Kong Sanctions Act named Secretary for Justice Paul Lam, Police Chief Raymond Siu, as well as a panel of judges comprising Andrew Cheung, Andrew Chan, Johnny Chan, Alex Lee, and Esther. Toh, and Amanda Woodcock, among the sanctioned officials.

Previously, the United States has enforced visa restrictions and other sanctions on Hong Kong officials accused of violating freedoms. Additionally, it has announced the termination of the special economic treatment that Hong Kong had previously received under US law.

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