China

The Trump administration on Thursday put visa and asset sanctions on several Chinese officials — including Politburo member Chen Quanguo — for what it says has been their role in "gross violations of human rights" in China's far western region of Xinjiang.

The move comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are at their worst in decades and is likely to anger Beijing, potentially leading to similar sanctions from China on American officials.

Prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law says he has fled the city following the enactment of a new Beijing-sponsored crackdown on free expression, telling NPR that the new national security legislation amounts to a "complete destruction" of Hong Kong's autonomy.

Attempts to dissuade China's ruling Communist Party from asserting more authority over Hong Kong didn't work. Now that China is imposing a new national security law on the territory, world powers are looking to punish Beijing.

The law hands the central government almost unchecked legal power in the former British colony, which was promised a "high degree of autonomy" for 50 years when it was returned to China in 1997. Drafted secretly and enacted swiftly on Tuesday, it is considered by many analysts to be even harsher than expected.

Only after it was passed did Beijing unveil the full text of its controversial new national security law imposed by fiat on Hong Kong.

On Tuesday an elite body within China's legislature voted unanimously to adopt the law in a rushed, secretive process. Even Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, said she hadn't been allowed to see a draft before the law's passage.

Updated at 9:33 p.m. ET

President Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he endorsed Beijing's now-infamous archipelago of prison camps for minority Uighurs, John Bolton writes in his new memoir, The Room Where It Happened.

The former national security adviser quotes U.S. officials who took part in Trump's meetings with their Chinese counterparts.

Since the coronavirus pandemic battered China's economy, tens of millions of urban and factory jobs have evaporated.

Some workers and business owners have banded together to pressure companies or local governments for subsidies and payouts.

But many of the newly unemployed have instead returned to their rural villages. China's vast countryside now serves as an unemployment sponge, soaking up floating migrant workers in temporary agricultural work on small family plots.

Hong Kong's legislature has passed a bill making it a crime to poke fun at China's national anthem — a move that puts new limits on anniversary events marking the Tiananmen Square massacre. Under the ban, it is illegal to alter the lyrics of the anthem, or to sing it "in a distorted or disrespectful way."

The United States put up another major roadblock this month against Huawei, as China's big telecommunications company moves to set up the latest 5G mobile networks worldwide.

On May 19, the Commerce Department issued new export rules to choke off Huawei's access to semiconductor chips it needs to build cellphones and 5G infrastructure.

China's National People's Congress, the nation's rubber-stamp legislature, authorized a committee on Thursday to draft and enact a national security law that asserts the mainland's authority over the former British colony.

The law, likely to take effect as early as June, would authorize the mainland to prevent "secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference" in the semi-autonomous city.

President Trump is warning of possible sanctions this week against China over its treatment of Hong Kong. It's the latest source of friction in what's become an increasingly tense relationship between the world's two biggest economies.

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