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China condemns new US sanctions over Hong Kong security law

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By Euronews with AP
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Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China will "take resolute and forceful countermeasures".
Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China will "take resolute and forceful countermeasures".   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File
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China has hit back at the United States over new sanctions related to the National Security Law in the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong.

In June, Beijing passed the controversial law to impose tighter control in Hong Kong and prevent foreign political influence.

The former British colony was returned to China in 1997 with a promise it could retain some autonomy relatively in legal and economic systems for 50 years.

The law followed months of political turmoil and anti-government demonstrations, calling for Hong Kong independence, which was met with strong suppression by authorities.

Several leading government opponents were arrested, and four opposition members of Hong Kong's Legislative Council were expelled, while other pro-democracy advocates sought exile in Europe.

On Monday, the US State Department said the 14 Chinese parliamentary officials will be banned from travelling to or accessing financial systems in the United States over their actions in Hong Kong.

"Beijing's unrelenting assault against Hong Kong's democratic processes has gutted its Legislative Council, rendering the body a rubber stamp devoid of meaningful opposition," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying condemned the new sanctions and stated that Beijing will "take resolute and forceful countermeasures and resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it has summoned a senior US diplomat to express "strong indignation and strong condemnation".

The US Embassy in Beijing described the meeting as a chance to express concern over the National Security Law.

"Beijing has used the law repeatedly to suppress freedom of expression and assembly in Hong Kong and to arrest Hong Kong residents who have raised peacefully their concerns over Beijing's oppressive policies," the embassy said in a statement.

China has previously accused the United States of spreading chaos and disorder in Hong Kong and hindering China's development, a claim rejected by the US.

Meanwhile the European Union High Representative, Josep Borrell, has stated that the bloc will not be taking further measures against China despite concerns.

"The situation in Hong Kong has worsened and we are aware of it," Borrell stated at the end of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday.

"However, we cannot rule out the possibility that measures may be considered later," he added.

At Tuesday's daily briefing, Hua Chunying also condemned the sale of advanced US military equipment to Taiwan, worth around $280 million (€231 million).

Beijing has recently increased diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, a self-governing island democracy that China claims as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary.

Taiwan's government welcomed the sale of military equipment, stating that Washington is honouring a commitment to bolster the island's defences.