President Donald Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to punish China for what he called “oppressive actions” against the former British colony, prompting Beijing to warn of retaliatory sanctions.
Citing China’s decision to enact a new national security law for Hong Kong, Trump signed an executive order that he said would end the preferential economic treatment for the city.
“No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies,” he told a news conference.
Acting on a Tuesday deadline, he also signed a bill approved by the U.S. Congress to penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement the new security law.
“Today I signed legislation, and an executive order to hold China accountable for its aggressive actions against the people of Hong Kong, Trump said.
“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” he added.
Under the executive order, U.S. property would be blocked of any person determined to be responsible for or complicit in “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Hong Kong,” according to the text of the document released by the White House.
It also directs officials to “revoke license exceptions for exports to Hong Kong,” and includes revoking special treatment for Hong Kong passport holders.
China’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday Beijing will impose retaliatory sanctions against U.S. individuals and entities in response to the law targeting banks, though the statement released through state media did not reference the executive order.
“Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and no foreign country has the right to interfere,” the ministry said.