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China Slaps Sanctions On US 'Pro-Democracy' Officials Accused Of Meddling In Hong Kong, Report Says

© AP Photo / Ng Han GuanChinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks during a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China. File photo.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks during a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China. File photo. - Sputnik International
Beijing has responded in a tit-for-tat diplomatic row with Washington over a national security law aimed at cracking down on US-backed opposition groups across the special administrative region, with fresh measures passed on Monday, Chinese state media reported.

Beijing plans to sanction four people due to their "egregious" behaviour of meddling in the domestic affairs of Hong Kong, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday as cited by the Global Times.

Officials facing fresh sanctions include John Knaus, senior director for Asia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Manpreet Singh Anad, Asia-Pacific regional director at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), among others.

All four people will not be allowed to enter China as well as Hong Kong and Macao, according to the report.

 Joshua Wong, secretary-general of Hong Kong's pro-democracy Demosisto party and leader of the Umbrella Movement, listens to testimony at a Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 17, 2019 - Sputnik International
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The NED has openly funded Hong Kong opposition groups such as the Solidarity Center and Hong Kong Justice Center, and Demosisto, who hosts opposition figure Joshua Wong, among others, as well as spent millions on numerous projects in the European Union, including opposition support for protestors in Belarus, according to analysts.

Further backing has been given to opposition in Venezuela and Bolivia amid major political coups in recent years.

"A large amount of evidence exists to show that these NGOs have supported anti-China forces in creating chaos in Hong Kong, and made utmost efforts to encourage these forces to engage in extreme violent criminal acts, and also hyped separatist activities in Hong Kong," Hua said at a press conference in December last year.

The news comes after China slapped sanctions on 11 US lawmakers and heads of non-governmental organisations such as Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Human Rights Watch director Kenneth Roth, NED president Carl Gershman, International Republican Institute president Daniel Twining, NDI president Derek Mitchell, among others, the report added.

Beijing has accused the NGOs of meddling in Hong Kong affairs and being involved in riots over the last year, including meetings with "Gang of Four" rioters Anson Chan Fang On-Sang, it read.

US-China Diplomatic Row Over Hong Kong Security Law

The news comes after the Trump administration slapped sanctions on a further four Chinese officials in Hong Kong on 12 November.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 10, 2020.  - Sputnik International
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Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs office, Edwina Lau, Hong Kong deputy commissioner of police and two others from Hong Kong's new national security office were targeted in the sanctions.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo banned all travel and US-based assets of the officials, citing their role in the new national security law which entered force in August.

“These actions underscore U.S. resolve to hold accountable key figures that are actively eviscerating the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy,” Pompeo said at the time.

But chief secretary of the special administrative region, Matthew Cheung, slammed the sanctions as "absolutely unacceptable" and "barbaric" interference in China's domestic affairs.

“We are not going to be intimidated,” Cheung told reporters at a news conference at the time.

The developments comes amid skyrocketing tensions between London, Washington and Beijing over the law, which the former two allege violates the 1997 UK-China 'one country, two systems' agreement.

Beijing has repeatedly said it has the right to defend its territory from foreign meddling, with Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam stating in a recent event that the law had boosted national security efforts in the region.

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