China imposed sanctions against the United States because of Washington's interference in the internal affairs of the republic. This was stated at a briefing by the official representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying.

“In response to unreasonable US actions, the Chinese government decided to suspend consideration of applications for the arrival of US warships and aircraft in Hong Kong from today and impose sanctions on NGOs that have played a particularly significant role in Hong Kong unrest regarding amendments to the law,” the diplomat said.

According to Hua Chunying, restrictive measures will affect non-governmental organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy *, the National Democratic Institute for International Relations ** , the International Republican Institute *** , Freedom House and Human Rights Watch, with headquarters in the United States.

“China calls on the United States to correct its mistakes and stop any statements and actions that constitute interference in the internal affairs of Hong Kong and China,” said Hua Chunying.

Earlier in the United States, the Law on the Protection of Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong, which Donald Trump signed on November 26, entered into force. In accordance with this document, the White House, in particular, must provide Congress with a list of persons responsible for human rights violations during the suppression of unrest in Hong Kong. The law provides for sanctions against these people. In addition, the Department of State must report annually to Congress on whether Hong Kong maintains a sufficient degree of autonomy.

Recall, Great Britain transferred Hong Kong to China in 1997. As part of the PRC, the city received the status of a special administrative region, while the same system of self-government and judicial procedure, which existed during the British domination of these territories, was preserved here.

The unrest in the city began last summer. They were caused by the plans of the Hong Kong authorities to pass a law allowing, in case of receiving a corresponding request from the PRC, to extradite suspected criminals to mainland China. This initiative was never accepted, but protests continue to this day. They are attended mainly by students of local universities.

A new phase of the trade war

Experts believe that the sanctions announced by China are nothing but a part of the trade war unfolding between Beijing and Washington. The head of the HSE School of Oriental Studies, Alexei Maslov, in an interview with RT drew attention to the fact that both the American law "On the Protection of Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong" and information on Chinese sanctions appeared just when the likelihood of escalating trade disputes between states increased.

  • Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying
  • Reuters
  • © Jason Lee

The analyst recalled that on December 15, the United States planned to introduce additional duties of 10% on certain categories of goods imported from China. In response, the Committee on Tariffs and Fees under the State Council of the PRC also intended to introduce additional import duties of 5% on a number of items of American products.

“From now on, the trade war will enter a very protracted phase. In the USA and China they understand this. Therefore, both countries are thinking over their moves, ”Maslov said.

In his opinion, the PRC until the last moment did not want to turn the trade war into an ideological confrontation, but the Asian power simply had no other choice.

Maslov believes that the law “On the Protection of Human Rights and Democracy in Hong Kong” can be called provocative: Washington was well aware that China would somehow react to this initiative.

“This law is essentially an interference in the internal affairs of China. The United States does not protest the status of Hong Kong as a territory of China, but at the same time take on the right to protect its residents. This law objectively enhances the unrest in the city. Protesters see Washington standing up for them, so they will act even more actively. Thus, Hong Kong will become a constant irritant for China. I note that the response of the PRC concerned organizations that, according to Beijing, present a distorted picture of what is happening in Hong Kong. I think the list of these organizations will be expanded, ”says Maslov.

From his point of view, the current actions of the PRC are warning in nature.

“The PRC is demonstrating exactly how it intends to act in the future,” says Maslov.

In turn, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Research, Vladimir Bruter, in an interview with RT, noted that Chinese counter-sanctions are extremely limited.

“China shows that it will not tolerate unilateral measures, that it will respond, but it is not going to finally break off relations with the United States. We’ll see if this gesture is appreciated in the USA, ”the expert says.

According to analysts, the most serious consequence of mutual sanctions for the two countries could be the failure of the comprehensive trade agreement that the United States and China are currently working on.

“They planned to conclude this year. But now it’s obvious that until the end of December an agreement will not be signed. Negotiations on it will most likely not be interrupted, but will continue only next year, ”Maslov believes.

"Strengthening Chinese expansion"

Political scientists also do not exclude that the Americans will try to internationalize their trade war against China.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump
  • Reuters
  • © Jonathan Ernst

“We see that a number of states on the part of the United States are already somehow participating in their anti-Chinese actions. This is primarily Australia, New Zealand, some European countries, Japan, South Korea. China, on the contrary, does not seek to expand the geography of the conflict, ”says Maslov.

However, according to Vladimir Bruter, neither Washington nor Beijing will try to enlist the support of Russia in this confrontation.

“Trump will not appeal to Moscow in the framework of this problem, he does not have the tools and capabilities for this, but there is total resistance from the political elite in terms of any steps towards Russia. As for the rapprochement between the Russian Federation and China, it is going according to plan, and the parties will not force it, ”Bruter believes.

At the same time, Alexei Maslov believes that the direct result of a new stage of the “war of sanctions” between the United States and China will be increased competition between these countries in foreign markets.

“China will not press America through politics. He is expanding his influence where the United States was once a leader. For example, Chinese expansion is expected to expand into Latin America and Africa. China is also negotiating with Southeast Asian countries. Beijing will push Washington even more actively from where Americans used to dominate, ”Maslov said.

* "The National Endowment for Democracy" (The National Endowment for Democracy) is an organization whose activity is deemed undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation by decision of the Prosecutor General's Office of July 28, 2015.

** The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (National Democratic Institute for International Affairs) is an organization whose activity is recognized as undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation by decision of the General Prosecutor's Office of 03/10/2016.

*** Corporation "International Republican Institute" (International Republican Institute) - an organization whose activity is recognized as undesirable in the territory of the Russian Federation by decision of the Prosecutor General from 08/18/2016.