Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Monday, June 29, blasted Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials for “crushing Hong Kong’s freedoms” and urged the U.S. government to consider sanctioning the communist regime.

“Xi Jinping and his Communist thugs must face severe consequences for crushing Hong Kong’s freedoms,” Cotton said in a statement. “The House of Representatives should pass the Hong Kong Autonomy Act to impose punishing sanctions on Chinese Communist Party officials. The administration should consider all options at its disposal to deny Beijing the benefits of Hong Kong’s special financial and economic status. We cannot ignore China’s draconian actions.”

Despite international condemnation, the CCP has passed a sweeping national security law eliminating Hong Kong’s autonomy. The law would punish people found guilty of “subversion” and other offenses in Hong Kong.  

“The passing of the national security law is a painful moment for the people of Hong Kong and represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team.

“From now on, China [CCP] will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses,” he said.

The U.S. Department of State announced Friday it would restrict U.S. visas for a number of CCP officials over the new law.

“Today, I am announcing visa restrictions on current and former CCP officials who are believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy … or undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions,” U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

On Monday, the United States said it was ending exports of sensitive military items to Hong Kong, as it moved to revoke the city’s special trade status as separate from China.

The CCP took immediately retaliatory action on Monday, announcing that it will impose visa restrictions on U.S. officials who have “acted viciously” on matters related to Hong Kong, according to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s threats to restrict visas for U.S. citizens is the latest example of Beijing’s refusal to accept responsibility for breaking its commitment to the people of Hong Kong. We will not be deterred from taking action to respond,” Pompeo said in response to the news.

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