China responded Monday to U.S. sanctions against 11 people over their actions to throttle freedom in Hong Kong by imposing sanctions against 11 Americans, including six Republican lawmakers.
“The U.S. action was a blatant interference in Hong Kong’s affairs and in China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday, according to CNN. “It was in serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.”
Zhao did not specifiy what the sanctions entail.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey were sanctioned for “behaving badly on Hong Kong-related issues,” Zhao said.
No Democrats were on the list.
Also sanctioned were National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, National Democratic Institute President Derek Mitchell, International Republican Institute President Daniel Twining, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth and Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House.
Rubio brushed aside China’s action as he and others reacted on Twitter.
Last month #China banned me
Today they sanctioned me
I don’t want to be paranoid but I am starting to think they don’t like mehttps://t.co/Pk9yH1io3Z
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 10, 2020
Though I do welcome Beijing’s help in highlighting the essay that in January got me banned from Hong Kong in the first place, where I spotlighted precisely the shredding of the most basic rights that today is taking place. https://t.co/ApHhGRyiYb
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) August 10, 2020
#China announces it is sanctioning me in retaliation for speaking out against #ChineseCommunistParty and defending America’s interests. Retaliate all you want. I’m not backing down https://t.co/Mlx6xtw4cT
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) August 10, 2020
Obvious to anyone watching. https://t.co/OvWlikdKIz
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 9, 2020
On Friday, the U.S. sanctioned Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and 10 other Chinese and Hong Kong officials “for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and restricting the freedom of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong,” according to a Treasury Department news release.
The sanctions block those named for accessing any financial interests in the U.S.
“The recent imposition of draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong has not only undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy, it has also infringed on the rights of people in Hong Kong, allowing mainland China’s security services to operate with impunity in the region, mandating ‘national security education’ in Hong Kong schools, undermining the rule of law, and setting the groundwork for censorship of any individuals or outlets that are deemed unfriendly to China,” the release said in explaining the U.S. action.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
On Monday, Hong Kong officials issued a statement of support for China’s sanctions against American legislators who have supported freedom in Hong Kong.
”The US Government has gone further in recent days by imposing the so-called ‘sanctions’ against officials of the Central People’s Government and the HKSAR Government,” a spokesman for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said in a statement. “The act is shameless and despicable, and is resented by the people of Hong Kong and the whole nation. … The HKSAR Government fully supports the move and will facilitate its enforcement in accordance with the law.”
More arrests taking place in #HongKong under National Security Law. Jimmy Lai and his son were charged with “colluding w/ foreign powers.” As more arrests are expected, the free world must respond quickly as well as provide safe harbor to at-risk Hong Kongers. https://t.co/KriQdwiqFS
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 10, 2020
On Monday, Hong Kong businessman Jimmy Lai, a major supporter of pro-democracy protests, had his newspaper offices raided and was arrested under one of the new security laws that triggered sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials, according to the BBC.
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