China says it will take necessary countermeasures after U.S. visa restrictions on officials
Updated 19:04, 22-Dec-2020

China said on Tuesday that it would continue to take necessary countermeasures to defend its legitimate rights and interests in response to additional visa restrictions by the U.S., according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The U.S. imposed additional visa restrictions on some Chinese officials on Monday over alleged human rights issues, according to a statement by the U.S. State Department. 

"Family members of such persons may also be subject to these additional restrictions," read the statement.

At a regular press briefing, spokesperson Wang Wenbin urged the U.S. to retract the visa restrictions, and said that China will come up with countermeasures depending on how the U.S. acts.

The U.S. move came less than one month after it announced new visa rules that limit the duration of travel visas for members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their immediate families.

Wang said that the U.S. has "weaponized" visas on the excuse of a series of issues that have included China's Hong Kong and Xinjiang affairs, constantly imposing visa restrictions on Chinese personnel.

Such acts have severely intervened in China's internal affairs and harmed China-U.S. relations, the spokesperson added. China firmly opposes these acts.

Also on Monday, the U.S. Commerce Department published a new "military end user" list in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which list will include 58 Chinese and 45 Russian companies.

"The U.S. Government has determined that these companies are 'military end users' for purposes of the 'military end user' control in the EAR that applies to specified items for exports, reexports, or transfers (in-country) to the China, Russia, and Venezuela when such items are destined for a prohibited 'military end user,'" according to a statement released by the Commerce Department.

On December 7, the U.S. imposed financial sanctions and a travel ban on 14 senior members of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's top legislature, over Hong Kong issues.

Three days later, China decided to impose equivalent sanctions on U.S. officials for their stance on issues related to Hong Kong as a countermeasure to U.S. sanctions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters at a news briefing.

Responding to the U.S. visa rules, Hua said that several U.S. politicians and their anti-China rhetoric were "ridiculous" and "pathetic."

The behavior of the U.S. side was clearly going against the trend of history, did not meet the aspirations of the two peoples for friendly exchanges, and will deeply damage the interests of the U.S. itself, said Hua.

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