"Any words and actions that harm the interests of China will be met with counter-attacks on the Chinese side," said Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, also noting that Washington’s restrictions “seriously interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine US-China relations,” AFP reported.
A White House release on Friday announcing the measures targeting some Chinese students and researchers accused China of engaging in the “acquisition of sensitive United States technologies and intellectual property to modernize its military is a threat to our Nation's long-term economic vitality and the safety and security of the American people."
Trump on Friday also announced the US position that “Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory," and is therefore subject to a number of restrictions.
The new restrictions come after the Chinese parliament passed a resolution last month to draft a security law that would allow the semi-autonomous Chinese city to ban secessionist and subversive activity.
Beijing has repeatedly accused the US of inciting protests in Hong Kong to undermine the Chinese government. Mass protests erupted in Hong Kong in June when 2019 authorities announced they were considering making amendments to a bill that would allow the city to extradite suspects to jurisdictions with which it did not have an extradition agreement, including mainland China. The protests diffused into a generalized anti-China sentiment. On Friday, Zhao called on the US to cease meddling in the country’s domestic affairs.
Hong Kong was a colony of the British empire from 1841, when it was seized by the British following Chinese defeat in the First Opium War, to 1997, when it was returned to Beijing’s control and became a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.