• en

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

In response to freedom suppression, Blinken has announced new visa restrictions targeting multiple Hong Kong officials.

The United States has declared on Friday its intention to enforce fresh visa restrictions on numerous Hong Kong officials in response to the escalating suppression of rights and freedoms within the Chinese-administered territory.

In a statement issued by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, it was emphasized that over the past year, China persistently undermined Hong Kong’s guaranteed autonomy, democratic processes, and civil liberties, particularly with the implementation of the controversial Article 23 national security law.

Blinken asserted, “In response, the Department of State is announcing that it is taking steps to impose new visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials responsible for the intensifying crackdown on rights and freedoms.”

While the statement did not disclose the identities of the targeted officials, it follows previous actions by the United States, including the imposition of visa restrictions and other sanctions on individuals deemed complicit in eroding Hong Kong’s freedoms.

Hong Kong had previously condemned a U.S. legislative bill proposing sanctions against 49 officials, judges, and prosecutors involved in national security cases, denouncing it as an attempt at intimidation.

Among those listed in the Hong Kong Sanctions Act were high-ranking officials such as Secretary for Justice Paul Lam, Police Chief Raymond Siu, and several judges.

The U.S. has also revoked the special economic status that Hong Kong once enjoyed under its laws and cautioned foreign financial institutions against conducting business with implicated officials.

Under the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act, the State Department is mandated to annually report to Congress on the conditions in Hong Kong. 

Blinken reiterated that Hong Kong no longer merits special treatment under U.S. laws due to the escalating repression by Chinese and Hong Kong authorities on civil society, media, and dissenting voices.

Furthermore, in a sign of deteriorating press freedom, U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia announced the closure of its Hong Kong bureau on Friday, citing concerns over staff safety following the enactment of the new national security law.

Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule was predicated on the assurance of maintaining a high degree of autonomy and freedoms under the “one country, two systems” framework. 

However, in recent years, numerous pro-democracy figures have been imprisoned or forced into exile, while liberal media outlets and civil society groups have faced closures.

In a collective statement this month, 145 community and advocacy groups condemned the security law and urged sanctions against officials involved in its enactment, along with a review of Hong Kong’s Economic & Trade Offices worldwide.

Follow us on: