Intellasia East Asia News – US considers travel ban on millions of China Communist party members

The US is reportedly considering imposing travel restrictions on Chinese Communist party members amid a deepening row, with President Donald Trump saying further sanctions were possible and Beijing vowing retaliation.

A draft presidential proclamation would revoke visas for members of the Chinese Communist party as well as their families, according to the New York Times, citing four people familiar with the proposed travel ban that could apply to as many as 92 million party members.

Reuters news agency confirmed the report on Thursday, saying a draft presidential order had been circulated, but deliberations were at an early stage and the issue had not yet been brought to Trump.

The ban would be similar to the 2017 travel ban on Muslim-majority countries in giving the president the ability to prevent foreign nationals deemed “detrimental to the interests” of the US from entering the country.

The White House did not comment on the report on Thursday. On Wednesday, Trump said he had not ruled out additional sanctions on Chinese officials, following his signing of the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, legislation meant to punish Beijing over its recent security law.

The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said on Wednesday the US would be placing visa restrictions on “certain employees” of Chinese technology firms including Huawei, but provided no details.

On Thursday, the US attorney general, William Barr, issued a lengthy denunciation of the Chinese party’s strategy to achieve economic, political and cultural domination a strategy he said was being abetted by Hollywood, hi-tech corporations, and US business leaders lobbying on Beijing’s behalf.

He accused China of conducting “economic blitzkriegan aggressive, orchestrated, whole-of-government, and indeed, whole-of-society campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower.”

“The ultimate ambition of China’s rulers isn’t to trade with the United States. It is to raid the United States. If you are an American business leader, appeasing the PRC may bring short-term rewards. But in the end, the PRC’s goal is to replace you,” Barr said in a speech delivered in Michigan.

He gave two examples of China intervening to change the nationalities of characters in Hollywood movies before they were completed, using Chinese distribution deals as leverage. Beijing objected to a virus in a zombie apocalypse film, World War Z, being shown as originating in China, and a mystic character, the “Ancient One” in the fantasy film, Dr Strange, was changed from being Tibetan to Celtic, to avoid upsetting China, Barr said.

Tensions between the countries have escalated in recent weeks over Hong Kong where Beijing has imposed a sweeping and controversial national security law, as well as over Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seen by the US as a security threat.

Keith Krach, US under secretary for economic affairs, praised the UK for its decision to exclude Huawei from Britain’s 5G networks.

“We all have had experience with bullies and the one thing I know is that they back down when they are confronted and they really back down when you have your friends standing by your side, and the US is prepared to be that friend,” Krach said.

China summoned the US ambassador, Terry Branstad, to make “solemn representations” over the Hong Kong legislation, calling it “gross interference in China’s internal affairs”. A statement from the Chinese foreign ministry said: “China will make the necessary response to the wrong actions of the US, including sanctions against US entities and individuals.”

In a statement late on Wednesday, China’s liaison office in Hong Kong said: “Unreasonable meddling and shameless threats by the United States are typical gangster logic and bullying.

“No external force can stop China’s determination to maintain national sovereignty and security for Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.”

State mouthpiece the Global Times said in an editorial published on Wednesday night: “The current US administration has an abnormal worship of its own power… To what extent is the US willing to hurt itself to harm Hong Kong? No matter what card the US will play next, China will fight it to the end.”

The two countries are engaged in tit-for-tat sparring over the treatment of respective media outlets, tariffs on goods, sanctions in relation to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as claims over the disputed South China Sea. On Monday, the US state department declared such claims “completely unlawful”, siding with south-east Asian countries against Beijing.

After the US imposed sanctions on Chinese officials involved in alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, Beijing announced its own set of sanctions on US lawmakers and officials. China has also said that it would sanction US arms firm Lockheed Martin over its role in the latest sale of missiles to Taiwan.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/16/us-considers-travel-ban-on millions-of-china-communist-party-members-report

 

Category: China


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