China Sanctions US Citizens Entities Over Hong Kong.
Beijing announced sanctions on seven US citizens and entities on Friday in response to a US advisory on deteriorating freedoms in Hong Kong, just days before a visit by a senior Biden administration official.
Tensions between Beijing and Washington have soured on several fronts, including human rights, trade, cybersecurity, and the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last week, the United States warned its business community about the growing risks of operating in Hong Kong, following China’s crackdown on the main financial center.
US government agencies led by the State Department told entrepreneurs they face particular risks from the imposition of a new draconian security law a year ago, which they said could “adversely affect businesses and individuals operating in Hong Kong”.
In a statement on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said the move was designed to “baselessly smear Hong Kong’s business environment” and “seriously violate international law and the basic rules governing international relations.”
In response, China said it would impose sanctions on seven US individuals and entities, including Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce to former President Donald Trump.
While in office, Ross expanded the list of companies that cannot trade with US companies without a prior license, including Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE.
Beijing’s move comes ahead of a weekend trip to China by US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman with the intention of addressing the deterioration of ties between the two countries and the visit of the highest. However, the level that an official has performed during the term of President Joe Biden.
Others sanctioned include Carolyn Bartholomew, president of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission; Adam King of the International Republican Institute; and Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch.
Richardson, a leading expert and commentator on human rights in China, sarcastically tweeted her thanks to the Beijing government, saying it would give her “additional motivation.”
The Washington-based Hong Kong Democratic Council, which was also on the list, called the sanctions a “badge of honor.”
“It is the best validation of what and for whom we are fighting,” said Samuel Chu, the group’s director, a US citizen for whom the Hong Kong authorities have issued an arrest warrant.
“Beijing can sanction us, but it only reaffirms our effectiveness, strengthens our resolve, and lays bare its shameful crackdown for the world to see,” he said in a statement.
China’s statement did not elaborate on the form the sanctions would take.
In the US advisory, the government pointed to a changing climate under national security law and noted the arrest of a US citizen: John Clancey, a prominent human rights lawyer.
It also warned of the increased risks to data privacy and a lack of transparency and access to information, as well as warning that companies are at a higher risk of incurring US sanctions.
(This story has not been edited by NewsGater staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)