By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) – China on Thursday opposed the US’ Hong Kong Autonomy Law which targets Beijing over new laws imposed by China on the semi-autonomous region.
“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns the so-called Hong Kong Autonomy Law concocted by the US and its decision to sanction people,” Global Times quoted China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian as saying.
Beijing has faced widespread criticism over new national security law imposed on Hong Kong this July. The law criminalizes any anti-China activity. It was prompted by year-long anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong last year.
In a fresh anti-China measure, Washington on Wednesday issued first report mandated to US Congress under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act accusing region’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam of “undermining autonomy” from China.
The move, however, did not impose any sanctions on banks under the new law.
“Such practices seriously violate the basic norms of international law and international relations and severely interfere in China's internal affairs, and the US should immediately correct its mistake,” Zhao asserted.
In a statement US State Department said the report “underscores our ongoing objection to Beijing’s actions that are intentionally designed to erode the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and impose the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] oppressive policies”.
The US Treasury Department added 10 people to its blacklist of “Specially Designated Nationals” subject to sanctions, including Lam.
– Beijing objects to ‘bullying’
China also objected to any move to blacklist the country’s Ant Group, an affiliate company of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
“Beijing strongly objects to bullying practices that abuse national power to restrict foreign firms. China will take necessary measures to protect the legitimate interests of Chinese firms,” Zhao said.
The US State Department has reportedly submitted a proposal to the US President Donald Trump’s administration to add Ant Group to a trade blacklist.
Founded in 2014, Ant group values around $150 billion.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman also slammed Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) for its recent study that highlighted alleged concentration camps in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province.
“The satellite images ASPI claimed to be ‘detention camps’ in Xinjiang are actually office buildings of an administrative organ in Turpan and colleges in Kashi,” said Zhao.
Using satellite imagery as source, the ASPI had claimed last month that new facilities in the region for “re-education”, detention centers, and prisons have been built or expanded since 2017.