China suspended US warship visits and imposed sanctions on American NGOs on Monday, December 2nd, in reaction to the passage of a bill the US administration endorsed last week backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The sanctioned NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House, International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute had acted "badly" during nearly six-months of unrest in Hong Kong, Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was quoted Monday as saying, according to the German news outlet Deutsche Welle.
The city state has been shaken by increasingly violent unrest over the past six months demanding greater self-rule, which Beijing has frequently blamed on foreign influence, AFP has reported.
US President Donald Trump last week signed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which requires the president to annually review the city's favourable trade status and threatens to invalidate it if the semi-autonomous territory's freedoms are suppressed.
The moves on both sides came as the world's two biggest economies have been striving to finalise a "phase one" deal in their extended trade war.
At his regular press briefing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying was cited as saying, "In response to the unreasonable behaviour of the US side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for US warships to go to Hong Kong for (rest and) recuperation as of today."