China announced the imposition of sanctions on a large number of US individuals and institutions in response to the latest batch of US sanctions imposed by Washington on Chinese officials in Hong Kong.
The most prominent US individuals against whom Beijing has imposed sanctions is former US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
This batch of counter-sanctions announced by China comes a few days before US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to Beijing.
US sanctions were imposed on Hong Kong officials for their role in the security crackdown in the territory.
Washington also warned the business community of the growing risks to the operation of businesses in Hong Kong.
China pushed the National Security Law last year to be passed in Hong Kong in response to widespread protests by the country’s democracy advocates. Hong Kong’s Security Law criminalizes demands for secession, acts of sabotage and collusion with foreign powers, and imposes penalties of up to life imprisonment if convicted of any of these charges.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday that “the recent US sanctions aimed at distorting the business environment in Hong Kong without justifying grounds, in addition to violating international law and the basic standards of international relations.”
The Chinese Ministry statement issued in this regard added that the sanctions imposed by Beijing affect seven American individuals and institutions, including Wilbur Ross.
Ross, the US commerce secretary in the Trump administration, was behind the expansion of the list of Chinese companies that are prohibited from doing business with US companies without prior authorization, including Chinese communications and information technology giants Huawei and ZT.
Sophie Richardson, head of China at Human Rights Watch, Carolyn Bartholomew, chair of the US-China Economic and Security Review, and Adam King, president of the International Republican Institute, also sanction Beijing.
Jen Psaki, director of the White House Press Center, said in a statement to the media that the United States was “not bothered” by the Chinese escalation.
“These sanctions are among the latest examples of Beijing punishing citizens, private companies, and civil society organizations for sending political signals,” she added.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have seen a great deal of tension during the Trump administration. And those relationships continue to get worse due to issues such as the origin of COVID-19, human rights issues, and cybersecurity.
This weekend, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will fly to China in an attempt to repair the deteriorating relations between the two countries. It should be noted that Wendy is the most senior US official to visit China under US President Joe Biden.
The former US Secretary of Commerce Ross is the second former US official in the Trump administration to be subjected to Chinese sanctions, as Beijing announced last January the imposition of sanctions on Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, and 27 other Trump administration officials.
The Trump administration called the Chinese move at the time “useless and ridiculous.”
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