China promises ‘stern and forceful’ response in ominous warning to US

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China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has warned there will be a “stern and forceful” response from Beijing after the US imposed sanctions on more than a dozen Chinese officials relating to Hong Kong. On Monday, the US pressed ahead with financial curbs and a travel ban on 14 Chinese officials over their role in adopting a controversial new national security law for Hong Kong.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing Beijing of an “unrelenting assault against Hong Kong’s democratic processes.”

The law passed in June threatens to undermine Hong Kong autonomy from China and criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

The former British colony was returned to China in 1997 and the Chinese Government agreed to maintain the city’s freedoms until 2047, under an arrangement known as “one country, two systems”.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Chunying also accused the US of undermining peace in the region.

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She said the new sanctions “revealed the US sides dangerous intentions to interfere in Chinese domestic affairs, destabilise Hong Kong and obstruct China’s stability and development”.

Ms Chunying urged the US to make an immediate U-turn on the policy.

She stated China “strongly urges the US side to immediately withdraw the erroneous decision”.

China has since confirmed it will revoke visa exemption treatment for US diplomatic passport holders visiting Hong Kong.

Experts say China will hold back from any further action against the US amid fears of ties being further strained.

Zhiqun Zhu, professor of political science and international relations at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, accused Donald Trump of trying to make things worse before leaving the White House.

He claimed the Trump administration no longer care unlike those in China and President-elect Joe Biden.

Speaking to Newsweek, Mr Zhu said: “Beijing is concerned that Trump and Pompeo will smash a pot into pieces just because it’s cracked.

“Any retaliation now from Beijing may goad Trump and Pompeo to do more to further damage the US-China relationship before they depart.

“They are obviously going berserk and do not care about the future of the relationship, but many in China and in the Biden team care.”

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In London on Wednesday, Home Secretary Priti Patel met with Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law.

Ms Patel pledged to protect and uphold freedoms for citizens of Britain’s former colony.

In a statement, she said: “The United Kingdom will stand by the people of Hong Kong and keep our promise to protect and uphold their freedoms.”

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