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    “United States Enacts Fresh Visa Limits on Hong Kong Officials in Response to Rights Suppression”


    US Imposes New Visa Restrictions on Hong Kong Officials Over Rights Suppression

    In response to ongoing concerns about the suppression of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, the United States has announced its intention to impose fresh visa restrictions on numerous officials from the territory controlled by China. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement condemning China’s consistent infringement upon Hong Kong’s guaranteed autonomy, democratic structures, and fundamental liberties over the past year.

    The statement highlighted China’s recent implementation of a new national security law known as Article 23, which contains broad and vaguely defined provisions regarding ‘sedition,’ ‘state secrets,’ and interactions with foreign entities. Blinken expressed concerns that these provisions could be used to eliminate dissent within Hong Kong and could also be applied beyond its borders as part of China’s campaign of transnational repression.

    As a response, the Department of State announced steps to impose new visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials responsible for the escalating crackdown on rights and freedoms. This action falls under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    However, the statement did not specify which officials would be targeted by these new visa restrictions. This announcement follows a previous US bill in November that called for sanctions against 49 Hong Kong officials, judges, and prosecutors involved in national security cases. Hong Kong officials criticized this bill, accusing US legislators of grandstanding and attempting to intimidate the city.

    Among the officials named in the previous Hong Kong Sanctions Act were Secretary for Justice Paul Lam, Police Chief Raymond Siu, and several judges. The United States has previously imposed visa restrictions and other sanctions on Hong Kong officials accused of undermining freedoms and has also announced the end of the special economic treatment that Hong Kong had long enjoyed under US law.

    The move by the United States reflects growing international concern over the erosion of freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong, as China tightens its grip on the region. It also underscores the escalating tensions between the US and China over issues of human rights, democracy, and international relations.

    Sources By Agencies

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