China announced today it has banned US military ships and aircraft from stationing in Hong Kong, in retaliation against a Washington resolution that allows sanctions on Chinese officials who violate human rights in the semi-autonomous region.
Beijing has also decided to sanction non-governmental organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who once again stated that amending the Human Rights and Democracy Act in Hong Kong is a "serious violation of international law."
"In response, we have decided to suspend reviewing any requests for US military ships and aircraft to station in Hong Kong, and to increase sanctions on US Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs] that have negatively influenced disturbances" in the region, she said.
In addition to HRW, the spokeswoman said the National Foundation for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute for International Relations, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House will also be sanctioned.
Hua said there are "many facts and evidence" showing that these NGOs "support the anti-China movement" in Hong Kong and "encourage involvement in violent and criminal activities, and instigate separatist activities."
"They have great responsibility for the chaotic situation in Hong Kong and should be punished," she said.
The spokeswoman further said that China has called on the US to "correct its mistakes" and "stop interfering" in its internal affairs.
"China will take further action if necessary and will defend prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, as well as our national sovereignty," she added.
Hua did not provide details on how those organizations will be sanctioned.
Last week, US President Donald Trump enacted the law after the US Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting human rights and democracy in Hong Kong, which was also passed in the Senate.
The House of Representatives adopted the resolution with 417 votes in favor and only one against, sparking Beijing's fury.
The text questions Hong Kong's trade status and includes sanctions against Chinese officials deemed responsible for human rights violations in the former British colony, such as arbitrary and extra-judicial detentions, torture, and forced confessions.
The protests that have been sweeping Hong Kong for the past six months were triggered by a bill that would allow the government to extradite criminals to jurisdictions without prior agreements, such as mainland China. The bill has been formally withdrawn, but demonstrations have turned into a movement that demands democratic reforms and opposes Beijing's growing interference in the territory.
Protests have become increasingly violent, with acts of vandalism and clashes with security forces.
Chinese diplomacy has accused Washington of supporting "openly violent criminals who destroyed and burned down facilities and assaulted innocent civilians, undermining the rule of law and threatening social order."
"The blatant and malicious nature of [US] intentions is absolutely clear. Its aim is to undermine Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, sabotage the 'one country, two systems' formula, and disrupt the Chinese nation's efforts to realize its great rejuvenation," she said.