BEIJING - China said Monday it has imposed sanctions on some U.S. nongovernmental organizations which are "responsible for the current chaos in Hong Kong" as a countermeasure to the recent U.S. enactment of a Hong Kong human rights law.
U.S.-headquartered NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Freedom House "should be punished and pay the price" for supporting "extremist and violent criminal acts" as well as "inciting separatist activities of Hong Kong Independence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.
Hua said the country has also stopped processing requests for U.S. military ships and aircraft to visit Hong Kong as part of the measure.
While urging the United States to correct its mistakes and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, Hua warned that "China will take further necessary actions" to firmly safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
As Beijing has not fully elaborated on the sanctions, it remains unclear how much impact the countermeasures will have on the United States.
China had threatened countermeasures even before U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law last week, legislation aimed at supporting pro-democracy protesters in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The new law directs the State Department to conduct an annual review to determine whether Hong Kong has retained enough autonomy from China to maintain its special trading status with the United States.
The law also imposes sanctions on individuals deemed responsible for human rights violations in Hong Kong.
The legislation came about as concerns have been growing in the United States over the deepening political unrest in Hong Kong and the violence seen in clashes between protesters and police.
Since the protests began in June over a now-withdrawn bill that sought to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China, groups like Human Rights Watch and Freedom House have published multiple papers on, what they consider, a Beijing-backed human rights crisis in Hong Kong.
Under China's "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong was promised it would enjoy the rights and freedoms of a semiautonomous region for 50 years following the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997.