China has promised to require “all necessary countermeasures” if we pressed ahead with legislation penalizing banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s draconian new national security law in Hong Kong.
The warning on Friday came after the United States Senate unanimously approved the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, sending it to the White House for President Donald Trump’s signature.
“This US move has grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and seriously violated the law of nations, also because the basic norms governing diplomacy,” the Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress said.
“If the US side is bent taking place the incorrect path, China will resolutely respond with all necessary countermeasures.”
Beijing has faced a groundswell of criticism over its decision to impose a law outlawing “acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces” in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters within the city also as foreign governments say the law breaches the “one country, two systems” principle enshrined within the 1984 Sino-British treaty that guaranteed the autonomy of Hong Kong.
The law has triggered alarm among democracy activists and rights groups. Demosisto, a pro-democracy group led by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, disbanded hours after the legislation was passed, while prominent group member Nathan Law said on Friday that he had left the worldwide financial hub.
The 26-year-old said he made the choice to go away after criticizing the new law at a US congressional hearing he attended via Livestream on Wednesday. “Of course, I knew my speech and appearance would put my very own safety in serious jeopardy given the circumstances,” he wrote on Twitter.
“As a global-facing activist, the selection I even have are stark: to remain silent from now on or to stay engaging privately diplomacy so I can warn the planet of the threat of Chinese authoritarian expansion. I made the choice once I agreed to testify before Congress .”
Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, said Law didn’t close his whereabouts for security reasons and is “just one of variety of political figures who’ve fled as a result of the national security law”.
“Joshua Wong and prominent Demosisto member Agnes Chow – we don’t know where they’re at the instant. we expect they need to be within the city as they face criminal charges and aren’t allowed to go away as a result.”
Wong and Chow face charges of participating in an unlawful assembly in August last year, during mass protests against a now-withdrawn extradition bill with China. it had been those demonstrations – which lasted for months and sometimes descended into violence – that prompted Beijing’s move to impose the safety law.
Officials in Beijing and Hong Kong say the law, which bypasses Hong Kong’s legislature, is important to revive order and stability within the city and can only target a couple of “trouble-makers”.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong ‘s government confirmed that a well-liked protest slogan used over the last year – “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” – was now illegal. The rallying cry appears on placards at rallies, is printed on clothes and accessories, and scribbled on post-it notes on walls across the town.
“The slogan ‘Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times’ nowadays connotes “Hong Kong independence”, or separating the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from the People’s Republic of China, altering the status of the HKSAR, or subverting the state power,” the govt said during a statement late on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the 23rd anniversary of the previous British colony’s handover to Chinese rule, police arrested about 370 people during protests against the legislation, with 10 of these involving violations of the new law
The UK has announced plans to permit many Hong Kong citizens with British National Overseas status to relocate with their families and eventually apply for citizenship. Australia said it had been considering similar action, while Taiwan has opened an office to assist Hong Kong people eager to flee the town.