The United States on Monday imposed additional visa restrictions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses, taking further action against China in the final month of US President Donald Trump’s term, reports Reuters.
China said it would retaliate.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the restrictions affected officials believed to be responsible for or complicit in repressing religious practitioners, ethnic minority groups, dissidents and others.
“China’s authoritarian rulers impose draconian restrictions on the Chinese people’s freedoms of expression, religion or belief, association, and the right to peaceful assembly. The United States has been clear that perpetrators of human rights abuses like these are not welcome in our country,” he said in a statement.
US-China relations have plunged to their worst level in decades as the world’s top two economies spar over issues ranging from the coronavirus outbreak, Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong, trade and espionage.
On Friday, Washington added dozens of Chinese companies, including top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp and drone manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd, to a trade blacklist.
Also on Monday, US Department of Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf said it was looking at further restrictions on China, which he called an ever-increasing threat to the United States.