China said on Thursday it would revoke visa exemption treatment for US diplomatic passport holders visiting Hong Kong and Macau after the United States imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on more than a dozen Chinese officials.
Beijing will also implement reciprocal sanctions against some US officials, members of Congress, personnel at non-governmental organisations, and their family members, over their “vile” behaviour on Hong Kong, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a news conference.
The United States on Monday imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 Chinese officials over their role in adopting a national security law for Hong Kong and over Beijing’s disqualification last month of elected opposition legislators in Hong Kong.
The US action was widely seen as part of an effort by outgoing President Donald Trump to cement his tough-on-China legacy and to box President-elect Joe Biden into taking a similarly hardline position on Beijing at a time of bipartisan anti-China sentiment in Congress. Biden takes office on January 20.
In August the Trump administration slapped sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other top officials over what it said was their role in curtailing freedoms during a crackdown on the territory’s pro-democracy movement.