China sanctions U.S. over Hong Kong unrest

A protester throws a rock at a riot police van as it leaves a road in Hong Kong Saturday Nov. 30 2019. Hundreds of silver-haired activists joined

China on Monday slapped punitive measures on the USA in retaliation for its backing of a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, announcing sanctions on NGOs and suspending visits by United States warships and aircraft.

It comes after President Donald Trump signed the Human Rights and Democracy Act into law.

The legislation was backed by U.S. lawmakers who are sympathetic to the protesters and have criticized Hong Kong police for cracking down on the pro-democracy movement.

More tear gas was sacked at night after dozens of hardcore protesters set up roadblocks and vandalised some shops and restaurants linked to China.

Hong Kong has been living with nearly nonstop protests for six months. They chanted "Five demands, not one less" and "Disband the police force" as they marched. "But if there are more tangible threats on staffers and representatives for these organizations operating in Hong Kong, it would be a serious clampdown on freedom of expression".

Sanctions will apply to NGOs that had acted "badly" over the recent unrest in Hong Kong, she said, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.

"China urges the USA to correct its mistake and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs or interfering in China's other internal affairs by any word and act", Hua said.

"They shoulder some responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong and they should be sanctioned and pay the price", Ms Hua said, without specifying what form the measures would take.

Protests over the last six months have drawn a wide swathe of Hong Kong society - from students to pensioners.

The institute has no role in the current protests, and "to suggest otherwise spreads misinformation and fails to recognize the movement stems from genuine grievances", he said.

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"If we don't walk out, the Government will say it's just a youth issue, but this is a Hong Kong problem that affects all of us", said Lily Chau, 30, as she pushed her toddler in a stroller at the march in Kowloon.

Beijing imposes restrictions on non-governmental organisations, and is particularly concerned about those involved in humanitarian causes, gender equality, the environment or minority rights.

"Rather that target an organisation that seeks to defend the rights of the people of Hong Kong, the Chinese government should respect those rights".

She also said that Lam's government must prioritize "meaningful, inclusive" dialogue to resolve the crisis. The advertising industry wants "to take the first step to encourage other businesses to participate in the strike to give more pressure".

That followed a period of relative calm after Nov.24 district elections delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates.

An editorial from government mouthpiece Global Times said Beijing could take further measures if the U.S. "continues to escalate the provocation in Hong Kong".

The unrest since June has at times forced the closure of government offices, businesses, schools and the global airport, helping drive the city into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter.

The increasingly violent rallies have hammered the retail and tourism sectors, with mainland Chinese visitors abandoning the city in droves.

"The willingness of tourists coming to Hong Kong has been significantly affected, " the city's financial secretary, Paul Chan, said Monday.

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