China slaps sanctions on U.S. NGOs
China is introducing sanctions against a number of U.S. non-governmental organisations, including Human Rights Watch in retaliation for a U.S. bill banning the export of crowd control weapons to Hong Kong police and supporting demonstrators in the city, the country's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
"Recently, the United States passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, ignoring China's protest on the matter. This is a serious violation of international law and basic principles of international relations, as well as interference in China's internal affairs," the spokeswoman said.
"Beijing has already lodged a protest with the United States over the matter. This time, China has decided to introduce sanctions on several U.S. non-governmental organisations, including NDI [National Democratic Institute], Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House," Sputnik cited the diplomat as saying.
Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 and another law prohibiting U.S. exports of specified police equipment to Hong Kong.
The acts amended existing legislation to allow for the possibility of sanctions on human rights offenders in China's special administrative region and an annual assessment of the developments there to determine the level of Hong Kong’s autonomy from China — the U.S. treats Hong Kong as a separate trade entity and therefore must ensure that the city retains its autonomy.
Deputy Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University Andrey Karneev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Beijing places a substantial blame for the situation in Hong Kong on American non-profit organizations. "Beijing is concerned that the protests have been underway for almost half a year. The political system in China does not provide much space for citizens in terms of democratic freedoms, it is assumed that in the medium term, the Communist Party maintains a dominant position," he recalled in the first place.
"In the Hong Kong District Council elections held on November 24, the parties which sympathize with the protest movement won. It is clear that the Beijing leadership is extremely dissatisfied with this situation. Therefore, a decision was made introduce such measures against human rights organizations, which, apparently, somehow expressed sympathy for the protesters," the expert said.
"Alas, while we observe that hopes for mitigation between the U.S. and China have not yet been fully realized, despite the fact that all economists declared that, given the scale of economic cooperation between the U.S. and China, they will have to come to an agreement sooner or later. Apparently, we need to prepare that the contacts between the two countries will be quite tense for some time," Andrei Karneev concluded.