China slaps counter-sanctions on US NGO heads for 'horrible acts' on HK affairs

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/30 16:21:50

Hua Chunying File Photo

Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Monday sanctions on four Americans as a countermeasure against previous US sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong affairs, stressing that these people are not welcome in China and will be banned from entering the country, including the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

Those on the sanction list are John Knaus, Senior Director for Asia at the National Endowment Democracy (NED), Manpreet Singh Anand from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Crystal Rosario, NDI's Director of HK Office and Kelvin Sit Tak-O, the office's project manager.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said at Monday's routine press briefing that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. The US should immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China's internal affairs and stop going further down the wrong path.

The sanction on the four US NGO officials is more of a "targeted response" compared with the wanton decisions that US had imposed on China, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times on Monday.

"China's decision was made based on the harm that they have done in the past, with the aim of maintaining national security and development interests. The US, however, deployed its long-arm jurisdiction, evident in its sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who was banned from using US bank accounts amid the US sanctions on Chinese officials in August," Li said.

It is the second time this year that the ministry has imposed sanctions on US NGO heads.

In August, China imposed sanctions on 11 US lawmakers and NGO heads, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth, President of the NED Carl Gershman, President of the NDI Derek Mitchell, President of the International Republican Institute Daniel Twining, and President of Freedom House Michael Abramowitz. 

These NGOs were found to have interfered in Hong Kong affairs and played a role in the city's political turmoil that lasted more than a year. 

"The National Democratic Institute is a trouble-maker for Hong Kong, meddling in China's internal affairs and sabotaging regional stability and prosperity," Li noted. 

"They have colluded with secessionists to attack the HKSAR government and the central government, while pointing a finger at China's internal affairs with its own logic," he said.

"The NDI published a report called 'The Promise of Democratization in Hong Kong' in April this year to 'commemorate' the anti-government riots the previous year, which was completely misread, misinterpreted the situation in Hong Kong, and misled the audience," Li noted, adding that the move was intended to smear China and to stir chaos in the region.

Derek Mitchell and Manpreet Singh Anand were reported to have suddenly arrived in Hong Kong on November 25, 2019, and met one of the "gang of four" riot leaders Anson Chan Fang On-sang.

Kelvin Sit Tak-O is a program manager at the NDI, and has had behind-the-scenes involvement in many past secessionist riots in Hong Kong, including manipulating the University of Hong Kong's polls and having a hand in Benny Tai Yiu-Ting's "Design Democracy Hong Kong" website, according to Hong Kong media reports. 

Local media also reported that in May 2013, Kelvin Sit Tak-O wrote an email to Tai, saying that NDI officials would be visiting Hong Kong and hoped to have dinner with Tai. Sit also reminded Tai to demonstrate to NDI executives the strategic importance of Hong Kong and the need for continued support for the 2016 Legislative Council election and the 2017 Chief Executive election by universal suffrage.

The US NGOs were first put on the sanctions list by China in December 2019 for their "horrible activities in the months-long turmoil in Hong Kong," after the US passed and signed the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

"A large amount of evidence exists to show that these NGOs have supported anti-China forces in creating chaos in Hong Kong, and made utmost efforts to encourage these forces to engage in extreme violent criminal acts, and also hyped separatist activities in Hong Kong," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua said at a press conference on December 2, 2019.

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