China has threatened to retaliate against the United States after President Donald Trump's decision to begin the process of eliminating Hong Kong's special status and impose restrictions on Chinese students in U.S. Trump's action was prompted by a new Chinese national security law in Hong Kong.
Speaking to reporters at the daily briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said "the announced measures severely interfere with China's internal affairs, damage U.S.-China relations, and will harm both sides. China is firmly opposed to this," adding that "any words or actions by the U.S. that harm China's interests will meet with China's firm counterattack."
Trump said on Friday the controversial security law is tragic for the people of Hong Kong and violated China's promise to protect its autonomy.
He said the Chinese government had been "diminishing the city's longstanding and very proud status."
The president stopped short, however, of calling an immediate end to privileges that have helped Hong Kong remain a global financial hub.
China's people's assembly voted last week to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong that forbids secessionist and subversive activities, and what it labels foreign interference and terrorism.
About 200 political figures from around the world have said, the new law constitutes a "flagrant breach" of the Joint Declaration which retuned the former British colony to China in 1997 under the framework of "one country, two systems."