EU Sanctions China Over Hong Kong National Security Law

Hong Kong protester / Getty Images
July 29, 2020

The European Union will sanction China for its imposition of a harsh national security law on Hong Kong, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The new sanctions hope to mitigate the strength and reach of Chinese extraterritorial power by limiting the export of surveillance hardware to Hong Kong—technology China could use to extradite Chinese nationals from anywhere in the world under the new national security law. Also following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom—which now offers a pathway to citizenship for Hong Kong refugees—the EU is attempting to provide visas for Hong Kongers. Additional steps to support those fleeing Hong Kong may come at the end of the year.

China rebuffed these new policies, saying that it is time for the EU to "to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs in any way."

"China is firmly against the EU's wrong moves and has made serious representations with the EU side," a Chinese spokesman added.

A large amount of Chinese capital is bound up in EU countries—particularly the economic powerhouse of Germany—which has rendered European countries more hesitant to criticize China than the United States. As a coalition, the EU has also struggled to get all member states to take a stand against Beijing. For example, the EU caved to Chinese pressure in April to soften its criticisms of the PRC in an official coronavirus disinformation report.

Washington hopes, however, that this unified stand against China's hostile takeover of Hong Kong could signify further cooperation against the PRC in the future. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo alluded to the necessity of a "coalition" to brush back China in his remarks in London last week.

"We want to see every nation who understands freedom and democracy … to understand this threat that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to them," Pompeo said.