China’s government said Monday that it is suspending visits from U.S. military ships and aircraft to Hong Kong, blaming the Trump administration for support of pro-democracy protests that have rocked the semi-autonomous region for months.
CNBC reported that China’s foreign ministry pointed to legislation signed by President Trump last week that imposes sanctions on individuals suspected of committing human rights violations in the providence as evidence of U.S. interference in Chinese affairs.
“We urge the U.S. to correct the mistakes and stop interfering in our internal affairs. China will take further steps if necessary to uphold Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity and China’s sovereignty,” a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry said, according to the network.
She reportedly added that Beijing is also sanctioning U.S.-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
“They shoulder some responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong and they should be sanctioned and pay the price,” she said.
Several prominent human rights organizations including the National Endowment for Democracy and Human Rights Watch were sanctioned, with Beijing threatening more action if U.S. support for the protesters does not end.
China’s government has recently threatened greater repression of demonstrators in Hong Kong as a means to end the months of demonstrations, including authorizing the use of live ammunition against civilians.
The demonstrations were sparked this summer when Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced a bill to allow extradition of some criminal suspects to China. Lam formally withdrew the bill in hopes it would stem the protests, but they have largely continued unabated, with protesters calling for direct elections, Lam’s resignation and a third-party probe into police brutality against protesters.