Dozens arrested amid Hong Kong protests against proposed national security law

Hong Kong

U.S. imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong autonomy: Pompeo

Hong Kong Police said on Facebook that 53 people had been arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, and that some protesters had tried to blockade roads in the area. "We, however, urge the USA to act responsibly by refraining from taking measures that may potentially affect the normal operations of financial institutions and the vast number of customers they serve", the spokesman said.

Hong Kong has endured more than a year of protests, which started when the territory's government attempted to pass a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump's administration said it was restricting US visas for a number of unspecified Chinese officials for infringing on the autonomy of the financial hub. "Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions", Pompeo said.

The bill targets police units that have cracked down on Hong Kong protesters, as well as Chinese Communist Party officials responsible for imposing a strict national security law on Hong Kong, which is considered a special administrative region within China and maintains its own governing and economic systems.

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It stipulates that the Chinese government will set up a national security agency in Hong Kong that may exercise jurisdiction in certain circumstances.

"I am here to oppose the national security laws", said Esther, 25 who was on the streets of Jordan on Sunday.

Beijing's controversial national security law for Hong Kong inched closer to being formally passed on June 29, the second day of a three-day meeting held by China's rubber-stamp legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC).

The sociology professor expected rising hostility from USA politicians against China in the run up to the upcoming United States congressional and presidential elections.

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Gary Tang, an assistant professor at Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, said he believes academic exchanges on sensitive topics - as long as no direct funding for activism is involved - should be spared from legal repercussions. "No one can take the risk after the laws are enacted".

Few details of the bill have been released, but it appears that Beijing will have ultimate power over government appointments, further reducing the relative independence it promised to Hong Kong. The tension mounted as the two countries expelled each other's journalists and Pompeo assailed China's ruling party as the "central threat of our times". More than 1,300 U.S. companies now have offices or regional headquarters in the city.

Zhao told reporters that China has lodged a complaint with the United States over the Bill and warned that Beijing will respond with strong countermeasures in response to USA actions on Hong Kong.

Top US officials have repeatedly stressed that the nation's tough handling of racism-related riots in its own backyard was meant to protect the safety of its citizens, Chow said.

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The EU also warned China it would face "very negative consequences" if it pressed ahead with the new bill.

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