HONG KONG: China on Monday (May 25) threatened counter measures against the United States if it was punished for plans to impose a sedition law on Hong Kong,that the business hub’s security chief hailed as a new tool that would defeat “terrorism”.
Beijing plans to pass a new security law for Hong Kong that bans treason, subversion and sedition after months of massive, often-violent protests last year.
But many Hong Kongers, business groups and western nations fear the proposal could be a death blow to the city’s treasured freedoms and thousands took to the streets on Sunday despite a ban on mass gatherings introduced to combat coronavirus.
As police dispersed the crowds with tear gas and water cannon, Washington’s national security advisor Robert O’Brien warned the new law could cost the city its preferential US trading status.
But China’s foreign ministry said Beijing would react to any sanctions from Washington.
“If the US insists on hurting China’s interests, China will have to take every necessary measure to counter and oppose this,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Monday.
Hong Kong has become the latest flashpoint in soaring tensions between the world’s two super powers which China has likened to “the brink of a new Cold War”.
The refusal to grant Hong Kongers democracy has sparked rare bipartisan support in an otherwise bitterly divided Washington during the Trump administration.