China sanctions U.S. individuals, entity over Hong Kong in tit-for-tat move
China on Friday night announced sanctions against several American individuals and entity in response to the recent U.S. sanctions on Chinese officials in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Calling Washington's latest move an "erroneous practice," Beijing said it has decided to take reciprocal countermeasures. "We will impose sanctions on seven U.S. individuals and entity according to the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law," said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
That list includes former U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
"The U.S. has concocted the so-called 'Hong Kong Business Advisory' to groundlessly smear Hong Kong's business environment, and illegally imposed sanctions on several officials of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR," the spokesperson said.
"Any attempt by external forces to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs would be as futile as an ant trying to shake a big tree," the official added.
In addition to Ross, the rest of those sanctioned are Chairman of U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) Carolyn Bartholomew, former Staff Director of Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) Jonathan Stivers, DoYun Kim at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, senior program manager of the International Republican Institute (IRI) Adam Joseph King, China Director at Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson, and Hong Kong Democratic Council, according to the spokesperson.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Saturday that it firmly supports the Chinese Foreign Ministry's counter-sanctions.
These individuals and the entity listed have long been involved in fabricating facts, smearing the HKSAR and rolling out bills and administrative measures to interfere in the HKSAR affairs, which undermines China's national interests, a spokesperson for the office said in a statement.
The announcement of the sanctions came ahead of a visit by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin. She is the most senior American official to visit under the administration of President Joe Biden.
The relationship between the world's two economic powers deteriorated during the tenure of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Over recent years, the two countries have ordered consulate closures and journalist expulsions and imposed sanctions on individuals and companies.