The U.S. State Department has issued additional visa restrictions on Chinese officials suspected of human rights abuses.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Monday that the visa restrictions affect Chinese officials who the United States believes are responsible for or complicit in “repressing religious and spiritual practitioners, members of ethnic minority groups, dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists” and others.
Pompeo said family members of the targeted individuals could also face visa restrictions.
The move comes in the final month of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. It also comes at a time when U.S.-China relations have grown tenser over a range of issues, including China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a new national security law in Hong Kong, and tensions in the South China Sea.
The State Department currently advises Americans to “reconsider travel” to China, because of the arbitrary enforcement of local laws. This month the department updated the guidance to also advise Americans to reconsider traveling to Hong Kong, because of the new national security law. The department warns Americans that they could be subject to exit bans and arbitrary detentions by China’s government without due process of law.