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China threatens to 'counter-attack' US over Hong Kong curbs

China threatens to 'counter-attack' US over Hong Kong curbs

Protesters wave US flags during a rally in the Central district of Hong Kong on Jan 12, 2020. (File photo: AFP/DALE DE LA REY)

BEIJING: Beijing warned Washington on Monday (Jun 1) of retaliation after President Donald Trump announced restrictions on Chinese students in the US in protest over a new national security legislation in Hong Kong.  

"Any words and actions that harm the interests of China will be met with counter-attacks on the Chinese side," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, following Trump's move to also strip a number of Hong Kong's special privileges with the US. 

Zhao added that Washington's measures "seriously interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine US-China relations". 

READ: US revokes Hong Kong special status as anger grows over China law

Trump announced on Friday that the United States would ban some Chinese graduate students and start reversing Hong Kong's special status in customs and other areas, as Beijing moves ahead with a plan to impose a controversial security law.

The US president said the Chinese government had been "diminishing the city's longstanding and very proud status".

But China reacted angrily to the moves on Monday, saying it was "detrimental to both sides".

Under US legislation passed last year to support Hong Kong's anti-government protesters, the Trump administration must certify that the city still enjoys the freedoms promised by Beijing when it negotiated with Britain to take back the colony.

READ: Hong Kong government warns removing US special status is 'double-edged sword'

Beijing said its new national security legislation, likely to come into force before September, will tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong. It could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in Hong Kong.

The legislation, along with a Bill to criminalise disrespect for China's national anthem, have sparked protests in Hong Kong as demonstrators see it as the latest attempt by Beijing to tighten its control on the city.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: AGENCIES/aa


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