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December 3, 2019

Chinese Government Says it Will Sanction U.S. NGOs in Hong Kong

The Chinese government plans to sanction at least five U.S. NGOs with offices in Hong Kong, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesperson told reporters at a press conference on December 2. Hua Chunying described the move as a response to the U.S. president’s signing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act into law on November 27. Hua said that China’s government would impose sanctions on the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI), Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House for their “vile behavior” during the recent “disturbance” in Hong Kong. Hua did not say what form such sanctions would take and provided no additional details on them when asked by a reporter.

Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China under China’s Foreign NGO Law (Hong Kong-based NGOs must register representative offices or file for temporary activities to work legally within the mainland). This means that any sanctions would theoretically be levied outside of the framework of the Foreign NGO Law. None of the five listed NGOs have either established a representative office or filed for temporary activities in mainland China, according to data available on the Ministry of Public Security website.

While the five named organizations each have slightly different areas of emphasis and programmatic methods, all of their missions concern civil and human rights. NED, NDI, and IRI specifically work on promoting democratic institutions and responsive governance. Freedom House and Human Rights Watch research and report on issues related to freedom of expression, civil rights, and human rights abuses. In 2018, the NED funded an NDI project in Hong Kong related to rights, democracy, and civil society capacity-building.

The MFA spokesperson also stated that U.S. warships and aircraft will not be able to make rest-and-recuperation stops in Hong Kong.

The announcement comes less than a week after the MFA stated it had recently “punished” the U.S.-based NGO Asia Catalyst for “violating relevant provisions” of the Foreign NGO Law. In that case, as well, the MFA did not clarify what punishment had been levied, nor did it state what provisions of the Law Asia Catalyst had violated.

Below is The China NGO Project’s translation of the relevant MFA press conference questions and answers, followed by the original Chinese transcript released by the MFA.

Recently, the United States, in spite of China’s resolute opposition, insisted on signing the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” into law. This was a serious violation of international law and the basic norms of international relations, as well as serious interference in China’s internal affairs. The Chinese side has already made clear its resolute attitude toward this. In response to the United States’ unreasonable behavior, the Chinese government has decided that as of today it will suspend the review and approval of applications for U.S. warships and aircraft to go to Hong Kong for rest and recuperation. At the same time, it will carry out sanctions against U.S. NGOs such as “National Endowment for Democracy,” “National Democratic Institute,” “International Republican Institute,” “Human Rights Watch,” and “Freedom House,” which have shown vile behavior in the midst of disturbances in Hong Kong related to the ordinance amendment. China urges the United States to correct its mistakes and to refrain from any speech or actions that meddle in Hong Kong’s affairs or interfere in China’s internal affairs. China will take further actions as necessary as the situation develops in order to staunchly defend Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity as well as China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Q: Why is China imposing sanctions on U.S. NGOs?

A: A preponderance of facts and evidence shows that, through all sorts of means, these NGOs support elements that are anti-China and promote chaos in Hong Kong; make great efforts to instigate these elements to engage in extreme, violent, criminal activity; and incite “Hong Kong independence” separatist activities. They bear significant responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong. These organizations deserve sanctions and must pay the price for their actions. . .

Q: Today you announced that China will impose sanctions on U.S. NGOs. Can you provide any further details?

A: As I just said, the Chinese government has decided to suspend the review and approval of applications for U.S. warships and aircraft to go to Hong Kong for rest and recuperation. At the same time, the government will carry out sanctions against those NGOs that I just listed, including the National Endowment for Democracy, which have shown vile behavior in the midst of disturbances in Hong Kong related to the ordinance amendment.

The reason for this is very simple. A preponderance of facts and evidence have already shown that, through all sorts of means, these NGOs support elements that are anti-China and promote chaos in Hong Kong; make great efforts to instigate these elements to engage in extreme, violent, criminal activity; and incite “Hong Kong independence” separatist activities. They bear significant responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong. These organizations deserve sanctions and must pay the price for their actions. This is also an action China must take to safeguard its national sovereignty, security, and development interests.

日前,美方不顾中方坚决反对,执意将所谓“香港人权与民主法案”签署成法,这严重违反国际法和国际关系基本准则,严重干涉中国内政,中方已就此表明坚决态度。针对美方无理行为,中国政府决定自即日起暂停审批美军舰机赴港休整的申请,同时对“美国国家民主基金会”、“美国国际事务民主协会”、“美国国际共和研究所”、“人权观察”、“自由之家”等在香港修例风波中表现恶劣的非政府组织实施制裁。中方敦促美方纠正错误,停止任何插手香港事务、干涉中国内政的言行,中方将根据形势发展采取进一步必要行动,坚定捍卫香港稳定繁荣,坚定捍卫中国主权、安全、发展利益。

问:中方为何对美国有关非政府组织实施制裁?

答:大量事实和证据表明,有关非政府组织通过各种方式支持反中乱港分子,极力教唆他们从事极端暴力犯罪行为,煽动“港独”分裂活动,对当前香港乱局负有重大责任。这些组织理应受到制裁,必须付出应有代价。。。

问:今天你宣布中方将对美国有关非政府组织实施制裁。能否提供更多细节?

答:我刚才已经说了,中国政府决定自即日起暂停审批美军舰机赴港休整的申请,同时对我刚才列名的“美国国家民主基金会”等在香港修例风波中表现恶劣的非政府组织实施制裁。

理由非常简单,已经有大量事实和证据表明,这些非政府组织通过各种方式支持反中乱港分子,极力教唆他们从事极端暴力犯罪行为,煽动“港独”分裂活动,对当前香港乱局负有重大责任。这些组织理应受到制裁,必须付出应有代价。这也是中方维护国家主权、安全、发展利益的应有之举。

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